Thursday, April 24, 2014

White Snow Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt; illustrated by Roger Duvoisin (1947)

This book is the same age as our house.  And my mom.

I certainly wasn't alive in 1947, but this book made me nostalgic. Not in a schmaltzy way.  Well, maybe in a schmaltzy way.  I think there are a bunch of people out there, when they think of snow, they think of snow like that found in White Snow, Bright Snow.  "Softly, gently in the secret night...  drifting, sifting, silent night... then without a sound, just when everybody was asleep, the snow stopped, and bright stars filled the night."

That's how I remember snow from my childhood. Exactly like that.  Perfect and silent and beautiful and wonderful.

Was there anything more precious and lovely than a silent night with snow on the ground and stars and a big bright moon above?

Was there anything more fun and wonderful than the first real snowfall, that first day.  And a really good blizzard?

Snow was made for kids, and this book proves that.

I love these old forties illustrations too.  So much.

White Snow, Bright SnowWhite Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think there are bunches of people out there of a certain age, who will read this book and have it take them instantly back to childhood.  Tresselt's people might be historical (and trite?) at this point (the postman, the policeman, the housewife), but the sentiment of first snow, and what it means to children, that's neither trite nor historical.  Snow may be a pain in the ass for grownups, but for kids in the real world, like in Tresselt's book, snow is a time when children laugh and dance and try catch lacy snowflakes on their tongue.  And there still is nothing more precious and lovely than "Then without a sound, just when everybody was asleep, the snow stopped, and bright stars filled the night."  Big contented wistful "sigh."


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Olson Family Matters, on Goodreads:  "Of its time. Text too long for the under-3 crowd. "  I agree with the sentiment that it's "of its time."  Certainly the illustrations are pure mid-century, and with a little less grace or charm than Burton's (the zenith of that time period in illustration).  But does that say something about our youth?  Were kids more content to sit and listen back in 1947?  I'm not sure it was written for the under-3 crowd anyway.  In fact, my edition clearly states that the book is for Ages 4-8.  And I think I may have a 1947 copy in my hands.

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