by Marie-Louise Gay
Published by Groundwood Books
Copyright © 2000
“Sam had never seen snow. This was his first snowstorm.” And so the tale of Sam and Stella begins.
Stella introduces Sam to the fun that can be had during a cold snow winter. You can make a snowman, go ice skating, build forts, have snowball fights, sled down hills, and make snow angels in the winter. Sam has questions, as most children do including: “Is the snow cold? What does a snowman eat? Why is fog coming out of my mouth?” Stella lives up to the book’s title “Queen of the Snow” because she answers all of his questions and seems to have such a handle on winter fun.
Marie-Louise Gay has written a light hearted, funny, and slightly whimsical tale about a boy’s first snow storm and an enthusiastic, and obviously more mature, little red-headed girl who teaches him how to enjoy it. Told mainly in the form of dialogue between the two main characters, this story very simply contrasts the magical imagination of the young with what is reality. Gay’s illustrations add to the light and whimsical feel with her thin lines and contrasts of Pale and vivid colors. I really love her little round snowflakes and how she draws the winter wind with wispy white lines. Her illustrations help this story along so much.
This is a great book to read to children ages 2 and up. It reminded me of some of the things that I love about winter that I haven’t done in a long time. If you are going to take advice on winter fun it should be from someone who knows a little about it like a Canadian. Marie-Louise Gay fits that bill for sure, and she has just inspired me to get back outside this winter to go sledding and make a snowman.