BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bea Reviews The Big Snow and Other Stories: A Treasury of Caldecott Award-Winning Tales by Berta Hader & Elmer Hader

Publisher: Dover Children's Classics 
Format Read: eGalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge   
Release Date: February 27, 2015
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from Book Depository:
This compilation of Caldecott winners unites three wonderful children's picture books, written and illustrated by a gifted husband-and-wife duo. The stories combine imaginative color drawings with enchanting storytelling, and all three focus on wildlife ecology, depicting memorable scenes from the natural world. "The Big Snow" takes place when the geese are headed south and the forest creatures put on their winter coats. When a blanket of snow covers the hills and valleys, the birds, squirrels, mice, and other animals gratefully gather the seeds, nuts, and other foods that the little old man and woman spread for them. "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo "traces a little chick's journey from a duck farm to the big red barn, where the rooster's cry draws him across the wide meadow and its many dangers, from crows and raccoons to a marauding fox. "The Mighty Hunter" is actually Little Brave Heart, who's reluctant to go to school ― until he encounters a prairie dog, wildcat, buffalo, and other animals that change his mind about the value of reading and writing.

Bea's Thoughts:

I hadn't read any of these before though I'd heard of The Big Snow. As they were Caldecott Award winners, I expected they would be interesting, thought-provoking, at the very least enjoyable. But neither of my classes enjoyed them and neither did I.

I read the first story, "The Big Snow" with the kids in my class of 2 and 3 year olds and they were bored.  A few wandered off which is not unusual but it also didn't hold the interest of the remaining children. I started the second story and the rest wandered off.

I tried to read the stories with my class of 4 and 5 years olds. They lasted a little longer but again, they were not engaged. The artwork is nice but with no words in any of the books, the artwork alone had to tell the story and it fell flat for both the kids and I in all three books.

The first two books had little flow from page to page so the connections were not always obvious. They weren't stories so much as a series of vaguely interconnected images. The last book had a bit more of a story though again it's not immediately obvious. It's also problematic in it's portrayal of a young American Indian boy, relying on stereotypes and cliches that were common when the book was published (and to some extent are still common).

I expected to enjoy these books and was disappointed. They weren't awful, more boring, both for myself and my classes.


  1. Oh, that's disappointing! I always wonder a bit about wordless books, but The Snowman was so good, it changed my mind about them as a genre. But it sounds like these don't quite work despite the beauty of the pictures.

    1. The Snowman is quite well done. It tells a story beautifully without any words at all. These, not so much. It was disappointing.


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