Books to Read as the Snow Falls

For a fireside read or a cozy snow-day bedtime, we have two poetic books to recommend that distill all the beauty of winter into evocative words and images.

Best in Snow, by April Pulley Sayre, is a stunning photo essay about snowfall. In her nature photos (she also has books about autumn and rain), Sayre beautifully captures the motion of falling snow, the fractal patterns of ice and the way high-stepping deer and woodland birds navigate a transformed landscape. Her pictures are accompanied by poetic text that is as meditative and calming as a winter walk: “Snow clumps and clings. / Wind sifts. Snow drifts.” The author has a knack for describing natural phenomena in lyrical language, with beautiful close-ups of thawing and melting: “Air warms. / Snow softens. / It drip, drip, drips. / Snowmelt forms icicle tips.” An appendix, “Secrets of Snow,” expands upon each line of poetry with a scientific explanation of how snow forms and the journey of a snowflake through the winter water cycle. No matter how evanescent the snowdrifts outside, Best in Snow captures winter’s allure.

For more poetry to please the ear, there’s Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year. It’s a well-edited collection of nature poems, gorgeously illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon and perfect for dipping into each night or looking up a birthday verse. The illustrator’s dark and mysterious images of forest complement poems that call upon the senses, with the hush of winter suggested in Julie O’Callaghan’s line “When rain / whispers / it is snow” or Robert Frost’s “The only other sound’s the sweep / Of easy wind and downy flake.” A few pages on, the colorful unfolding of spring is set off by verses that revel in the sounds of words themselves:

Spring is showery, flowery, bowery;
Summer: hoppy, croppy, poppy;
Autumn: wheezy, sneezy, freezy;
Winter: slippy, drippy, nippy.

With sumptuous two-page spreads dedicated to wind, the sea, owls, earthworms, blue jays, badgers, islands and trees, the book celebrates both the pleasures of poetry and nature’s plentitude—down to a funny pet dog (“The front end of him / looked vicious and grim—/ But the tail end was friendly and waggy”). This is an inspiring collection to share with your child.

Looking forward to the beauty of the changing seasons!

Maureen