The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
January 6, 2024
I can't remember not having some kind of snowfall before or right after Thanksgiving in Tehachapi. Yet, here I sit writing this review a few days before New Years, without a flake in sight. What is up with that?
It is totally possible that between the time I submit my book review and the actual printing and physical delivery of the paper, snow will have fallen. But then again, it may not. I am prepared with either outcome as I have books filled with snow.
Timeless picture books have introduced children to snowy days for decades. I grew up in sunny Southern California where nary a snowflake fell. But I grew up knowing snow through the many books with their icy promises. Promises of freezing toes and noses, a taste of cold on the tongue, a gathering of snow to make snowmen or fight to the end with the mighty snowball, all in good fun. Many times my imagination embraced snow in 80 degree winter weather.
"The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats, is a Caldecott winner first published in 1962. It tells the gentle story of Peter venturing out in his first snowfall with all the wonders before him. Though rejected by the other kids, Peter manages to make himself a magical snow day that did not disappoint.
"Snow" written by Uri Shulevitz was awarded a Caldecott honorable mention in 1999. It was dull and gray until snowflakes fell, transforming the city into a wonderland for a little boy and his dog.
Raymond Briggs wrote "The Snowman," published simultaneously in both England and the U.S. in 1978. A boy not only builds a snowman, but it comes to life at midnight and imaginative adventures ensue. One recent winter I looked out my window to watch two carloads of visitors from warmer parts of California spend several hours rolling snowmen into existence in the ball field across the street. Each snow person was unique, sporting colorful scarves and knit hats, to stand as monuments to snow building success. I liked to imagine these snow people had some fun adventures after midnight, until their inevitable melting!
"Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes" by Joanne Demaio pulls the adult reader into both the cold stuff and the warm yummy stuff, with a mystery revolving around snow, baked goods and if solved, a healing of hearts.
In contrast "The Snow" written by Flint Maxwell as the first of his whiteout series deals with daunting issues, like too much snow creating blizzards in apocalyptic proportions. Too much of a good thing? And is there a monster in the snow? If you prefer your snow with a little more freezer burn, this book may fill that niche.
Nancy White Calstrom offers a little gem of a book that brings peace and beauty back to the readers in her beautifully illustrated story "The Snow Speaks." Does snow speak to you? To be honest, we know snow is not always pleasant. It can be wet and soak right through to the skin while making a dash across a flurry filled parking lot, or while lugging feed out to animals in the pasture or replacing a flat tire in two feet of slush. Reality can try to steal away the wonder and mystique. But please hold tight to wonder.
When a handful of snow is grabbed to be molded into a snowball, or crushed under foot while attending more serious jobs, it is made of a myriad of snowflakes with no two the same. Really! They are nature's little unassuming individuals that can float in the air, dance in the winds and act as artists slamming themselves against windows to make intricate icy patterns. They can gather together in fluffy mounds, tempting both young and old into building snow families.
Snow is a master in disguise wishing no harm. Perhaps that is why we annually choose to put aside the less inviting aspects of snow to look forward with childlike anticipation to its charm. And we beg, "Let it snow!" (Please let it snow!)
*Midge Lyn'dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.