The prolific Gibbons’ latest is a utilitarian, beginner’s look at snow.
Opening with explaining how ice crystals form and merge together within clouds to create snowflakes, the text then touches on the fact that snow falls on every continent (though least on Antarctica). Next, Gibbons examines the different ways snow can fall—flurries, sleet, snowstorm and blizzard—and how people can know when snow is headed their way: “A blizzard happens when lots and lots of snow falls. The wind is howling. The snow is drifting. There can be whiteouts.” Briefly touching on snow clean up, outdoor activities and how snow benefits plants and wildlife, the text concludes with some ways to be prepared, a few Web resources and a list of fascinating facts, including some records—the largest snowflake (15 inches wide!) and biggest snowfall in one day (6’4”). There are also instructions for collecting and closely observing snowflakes, just as Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley did. Asides within the softly colored watercolor illustrations help define vocabulary: snowdrift, whiteout, evaporation, meteorologist. This, combined with short, simple sentences, make the book easily accessible for both young children and beginning readers.
Though it lacks the flair and depth of others, the breadth and ease of the text make this a good introduction. (Informational picture book. 4-8)