Read-a-Latte

Snooze and Slumber, Spring and Flight in Willard and Pinkney’s “A Starlit Snowfall”

Myra here.

Widget courtesy of the ever-talented Iphigene.
Widget courtesy of the ever-talented Iphigene.

As December gradually eases its way into open fields and cloudless skies, here is a book that found me from the library shelves and which I believe is perfect for our current bimonthly theme as it talks about the glittering sparks found in the heavens.

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This book showcases a lovely friendship between spring and winter as exemplified by rabbit and bear. As the towering figure of bear noted:

“It is not wise,” the brown bear said,

“to ask of snow your daily bread

when springs are still and berries few.

My cave is big enough for two.”

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While I am not usually a fan of rhyming verse in children’s books, Pinkney’s luminous illustrations make me want to reach out and touch the fur on bear’s back and rabbit’s belly. I could also sense rabbit’s impatience, his sense of confinement, and desire to “somersault downhill” and taste the snow on his tongue. As rabbit noted:

“How I should love a little snack,

a tuft of grass, a bunch of bark,

a star to tame the lonely dark.”

How the story ends, I shall leave for you to discover. There is a glorious three-page spread that powerfully depicts rabbit’s exuberant spirit and boundless energy; and full page spreads showing bear’s peaceful slumber, oblivious to everything around him.

Teachers who wish to use this in the classroom could explore the striking contrast among these two creatures and reflect on one’s nature and the power of the elements in shaping it.

A Starlit Snowfall by Nancy Willard and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Little, Brown & Company, 1993. Book borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

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Read-a-Latte Award: 242 (150)

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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