Snow by Sam Usher, published by Templar
We recently came across a newspaper article highlighting an apparent shortage of children's books that feature grandparents in leading roles. Although this may be the case, two of our daughter's current favorites certainly buck this trend. One is Grandad's Island (by Benji Davis, reviewed earlier this month), and the other, discovered recently on a visit to our local library, is the wonderful Snow, in which author and illustrator Sam Usher masterfully conveys a range of important themes, including the unique bond of grandparent and grandchild, the thrill of adventure and the joy of imagination.
Snow opens with the magical moment when a boy wakes to find freshly fallen snow covering his outside world as far has he can see. In one of the most impactful picturebook spreads we've come across, we see the boy opening his front door to discover this gleaming white world outside - nearly the full two pages of the spread are filled with a huge, blank, emptiness of pristine potential.
In his excitement he urges his grandad to hurry up and get ready to leave. The boy frustration with his grandad, who is apparently oblivious to the urgent need to get to the park, increases when first his friends, then some dogs, and even zoo animals, pass his front door. While the boy feels ready to leave, his grandad is still in the shower, still brushing his teeth, still eating his breakfast! Worried that he'll miss all the fun, he makes to leave, before his grandad points out that the boy has forgotten first his gloves, and then his hat, and that there really is no need to rush.
When at last they set off, the boy finds he needn't have worried - great fun is still to be had and grandad, it turns out, is fantastic with a snowball - winning their match against the others "six slushings to three".
Returning home for tea and cake, Snow ends with a delightful nod to the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare, as both the boy and his grandad agree: “some things are definitely worth waiting for“.