We know, we know, winter doesn’t actually start until the 21st. But New York, at least, the streets have already seen several inches of snow and even if it’s not official, the beginning of December certainly feels like a new season.
It’s no surprise that kids love snow: It’s a sparkling white Play-Doh that makes it possible to sled down hills, build forts, get into pitched battles with friends and create snowmen to guard the lawns. When you get older, snow becomes less enchanting — It’s hard to remember the wonder you felt the first few times you woke to see it out the window when you’re trudging through piles of dirty gray slush.
In that spirit, we’ve compiled some of our favorite scenes from picture books and comics:
The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg
Skip the movie — van Allsburg’s beloved book contains his gorgeous illustrations for this holiday tale. The Polar Express captures the hazy, muted beauty of the snow, and the light, once the nights get longer and snow drifts soften the edges of the buildings.
Brave Irene by William Steig
William Steig’s heros and heroines are more often than not plucky, determined individuals. Irene, of the title, is no exception. Caught in a storm while delivering a dress her mother made for the duchess, Irene must battle the storm, and the evil wind itself, to accomplish her quest.
The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats
A young boy makes his way through the city in this stark but lovely tale that will be familiar to any city children who’ve ventured out on a white morning. Keats’ book is a Caldecott Award winner from 1962, with images that have remained wonderfully relatable.
From Little Nemo by Winsor McKay
A very snowy Slumberland for a very confused Little Nemo.
From “Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson
One of dozens of “Calvin and Hobbes” strips depicting Calvin’s all-too-creative use of snow to torment and befuddle his parents and foes.
And, some of our favorite images from TOON’s books:
Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons by Agnes Rosenstiehl
Lilly has fun in every season, including Spring, Summer and Fall, but Winter is the only season she gets to play in the snow. Rosenstiehl’s book is great for introducing kids to the differences between the four seasons and letting them know that there’s fun to be had in every one.
Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking by Phillipe Coudray
While some bears hibernate in the winter, Benjamin Bear spends plenty of time frolicking in the snow with his friends. Whether he’s accidentally helping them build a snowman, racing them on skis, or providing an unlikely shelter, Coudray’s hilarious pictures make you want to run to the nearest snowy hill.
A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva
It’s not the North Pole (where Santa and the polar bears live), but the South Pole is another place where it’s always winter. Mouse has to put on his gloves and hat and scarf to brave the cold, but it’s worth it!