Sunday, January 6, 2008

Snow Ponies

Snow Ponies is South Padre Island's Children's Book of the Month for January 2008.

Written by Cynthia Cotten
Illustrated by Jason Cockroft
Published by Henry Holt and Company 2001
32 pages
Picture Book recommended for children 3-6
Magical ponies create the first snowfall of winter.
On a cold, gray day, Old Man Winter leads his snow ponies outside. "Are you ready?" he asks. Yes! Faster and faster the ponies gallop. Everything they touch turns white with snow as they bring winter to the forest and field. At last the ponies tire, and Old Man Winter settles them down for the night in their cozy barn. Outside, the world is covered with a soft white blanket. Winter has come at last. Simple, poetic text and evocative illustrations capture the magic of winter's first snowfall. (from google books)
This sounds like a wonderful story for youngsters that may not have ever experienced a winter wonderland complete with snow and the crisp cold that turns the cheeks a ruddy red and turns ones breath into a visible cloud.

From Kirkus Review
On a dreary, gray day, Old Man Winter ...
... goes out to his barn and releases his snow ponies to gallop across the cold, hard ground, bringing winter to everything they touch. As the magical ponies race each other across the fields, they nip and buck with playful energy. The other forest creatures leap out of their way. The fox snuggles into his warm den; a little squirrel huddles in the crook of a tree; the songbirds hide in the foliage of the holly bush. With each silent step, the snow ponies stir the whirling snowflakes and with each breath, the flakes dance through the air. As they tire, they slowly begin to walk toward the barn where Old Man Winter greets them and tucks them back into their stalls. He exits the barn and smiles at the white wonderland that his magic has created. Paintings full of quick brushstrokes of color layered on a softly muted landscape make this a beautiful as well as a magical read.
Kirkus Reviews Copyright (c) VNU Business Media, Inc.

Carol Schene from Taunton Public Schools, MA writes:

A charming but slight tale about ... ... how snow spreads itself across the land. A herd of shaggy-maned, silvery-white, dappled ponies is released from the barn by a white-bearded, smiling Old Man Winter. As the animals frolic through the forests, fields, and roads, the ground turns white beneath their feet and snow swirls around them. The more wildly they play, the stormier it becomes. The other creatures-a fox, songbird, deer, and gray squirrel-shiver and search for shelter as they pass. Finally tiring, the ponies return to the barn where the old man watches them as they nod off to sleep and then stops outside to view the new winter landscape. The double-page, acrylic illustrations are awash in blue, gray, brown, and silver tones that create a haunting, magical atmosphere that allows the fanciful world to come alive. Bold paint strokes capture the sense of the swirling snow, and the ponies themselves will capture the hearts of horse lovers as they leap and rear and swish their tails along the way. The brief text is rich with descriptive phrases of their antics. This book could be used as a starting point for sparking students' imaginations about snow, and the illustrations will definitely attract young equine fans.

For a curriculum guide go to:

Happy reading!

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