Loni Edwards

Illustration and Paintings in Digital, Watercolors and Ink

Perfect Picture Book Fridays – The Snowy Day

For this weeks Perfect Picture Book Friday, I am choosing one of my favorite picture books of all time:

Title and Publisher:   The Snowy Day written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.  Originally published in 1962. Currently published by Viking Juvenile; 50 Anv edition August 18, 2011 (A division of Scholastic)

1963 Caldecott Award Winner

Age Range:  Suitable for ages 5 and up.

Themes/Topics:  Seasons

Opening and brief synopsis: One winter morning Peter work up and looked out of the window.  Snow had fallen during the night.  It covered everything as far as he could see.  This book is about a little boy named Peter who has a fun day out in the snow.  It’s simplistic storytelling and beautiful illustrations create a wonderful snowy world for Peter to explore.

Activities:  The Ezra Jack Keats site has a wonderful page full of activities for all of Ezra’s books.  Some for The Snowy Day specifically are:

A curriculum guide at Scholastic

A science project guide at Scholastic

Why I like this book:  Ezra Keats’ storytelling is simple and clear. He captures the readers attention with just the right words. His illustrations are wonderful. They are fun and sweet.

This book is historical also.  The 1960’s in the United States were pivotal in the Civil Rights movement. The Snowy Day was the first children’s book to feature an African American as a protagonist lead character.  Being a victim of discrimination himself, Keats purposely chose the little boy he saw in Life magazine as his lead character.  Peter went on to star in a number of Keats’ books.  From the beginning, it was Keats goal to always feature minority children as his main characters.

“None of the manuscripts I’d been illustrating featured any black kids—except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along,” Keats wrote in an unpublished autobiography (Quote printed in Brian Alderson, Ezra Jack Keats: Artist and Picture-Book Maker (Gretna, La: Pelican Publishing Company, 1994), p. 51.)


Please go to the Perfect Picture Book blog to view more reviews of perfect picture books!


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  1. Julie Hedlund 23/12/2011

    I didn’t know this was the first book to feature an African-American main character. This series is so educational and fun! Great choice too.

    • Loni 24/12/2011 — Post Author

      Hi Julie! Thanks for stopping by. I researched the info further and it was actually the first African American protagonist featured as a main character. Sorry for the mistake. I reworded the review. I agree, I am learning a lot from our Friday reviews 🙂

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill 23/12/2011

    Ah! A classic! What a great choice, Loni! Definitely a must for our list, so I’m so glad you posted it!

  3. elizabethanne 23/12/2011

    I love Peter! Have you read Whistle for Willie?

    I was very surprised to learn that Keats wasn’t African-American himself, although his books might not have been accepted at the time if he had been. His books were so valuable, and still are, in showing our diversity and our similarity.

    • Loni Edwards 24/12/2011

      I found his bio to be very interesting. Such as his original name was Katz, but due to anti-semitism, he changed it after WWII to Keats. I haven’t read Whistle for Willie, but I will put it on my list. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  4. Erik -This Kid Reviews Books 24/12/2011

    This sounds like a interesting book! I really like the illustration on the cover!

    • Loni Edwards 24/12/2011

      Hi Erik! The illustrations through out the book are done the same way. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Hannah 29/12/2011

    I also love The Snowy day. Great review.

  6. Lindsey 05/01/2012

    This is one of my all-time favorites. I still haven’t found a good hardcover copy for my son, but I need to get it soon. Such a great book! The images are perfection.

    • Loni 06/01/2012 — Post Author

      Hi Lindsey! Thanks for your comment. Did you see Amazon has a 50th anniversary edition? I’m not sure if it is in hardcover or not, but usually they have both editions.

  7. Tina Kugler 06/01/2012

    One of my all-time faves too! I love the colors he puts in the snow. I’ve been shading my painted snow with pink & pastel blue ever since!

  8. Pat Zietlow Miller 07/01/2012

    This is a wonderful book. And, The Jewish Museum in New York is having an exhibit of Keats’ artwork through the end of the month. I hope to be able to see it.

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