Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Oh, glorious snow!

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

After a glorious day in the snow yesterday, snowshoeing on Cypress Mountain, it seemed the topic of the day should be snow, glorious snow!

Two nonfiction picture books helped us understand how snow forms. I shared both of these with my class this morning. My class is a Grade 2/3 class and we were able to understand the text with lots of support and time for questions. The illustrations, charts and diagrams really helped.

The Snow Show by Carolyn Fisher (published 2008) This book is written like the reader is visiting a set of a cooking show. What’s on the menu? A recipe for snow! Not only did we learn a LOT about snow, the kids loved when I cued “Applause” and they got to clap! Some new information for us:

  • snow begins with a speck (of dirt, dust, or ash) that water vapour sticks to
  • snow crystals can also be in the shape of needles, columns or plates

The Snow Show by Carolyn Fisher

The Story of Snow: the Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson (published 2009) The close up photographs on these pages are absolutely stunning. The children couldn’t believe that snow looked like this when the crystals were magnified. They loved the pages in the back filled with “snow catching” tips and are wishing hard for a snow day so we can race outside with black heavy paper and magnifying glasses. What amazing facts did we learn?

  • no two snowflakes are alike but also, snow crystals are rarely perfect
  • snow crystals are 6 sided because of the nature of water: water molecules attach themselves in groups of 6
  • snow crystals stop growing once they fall from the clouds


Of course, a great companion book for these titles would be a favourite title of mine: Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian (published 1998 and a Caldecott winner in 1999).

snowflake bentley

My original goal was to read 60 “new to me” nonfiction picture books for 2013. Progress: 12/60 complete 🙂

Thanks to Alyson from KidLit Frenzy for the opportunity to participate in this challenge.


Monday on the Mountaintop!

So what better way to spend a Monday than up on the mountaintop? Add some falling snow, some snowshoes, our favourite big buddies from Take a Hike and we’ve got lots of reasons to smile! Cypress Mountain felt like the top of the world!


It kind of went like this . . . 

Put on the snowshoes and head up and up and up. Big buddies and little buddies were supposed to be sticking together. And that happened (mostly). There was some coaxing and some chasing. But we kept smiling!


Get some rosy cheeks and keep smiling!


Stop to celebrate along the way! We walked a long ways up!


If you took a little longer getting to the top, celebrate a little bigger! 


Head back down – this time knowing where we are going!


Stop to smile! (and savour the view!)


Sometimes you need to go back up a few times so . . .


You can go down! Wheee! 


Let your smile show how you felt about the day!


And remember, you are never too old to smile big! Take a Hike seniors were troopers! Thanks for all the help guys!


The Snow Day

The Snow Day by Komako Sakai was our inspiration for some reflective writing today. It is getting cold and blustery outside and forecasts of snow are hinted at in the weather reports and imagined by eager snow enthusiasts who sense those chilly mornings. This book let us explore those images of when a very snowy day seems to stop the world.

The Snow Day

What is it like to wait for a chance to explore the snow? Better yet, what does it feel like to walk out into a snowy world with nobody else around?

Little Rabbit observes, “Mommy, we are all alone in the world.” Some snow days do feel that way.

We loved the image of Little Rabbit getting to step into that big expanse of white and did some brainstorming about what snow looks like when it is covering the landscape. Some students included these images in their writing.

This book was certainly about anticipation. And excitement. But also about the quiet, the calm and the wonder of snow.

Some Monday afternoon writing shared:

Gracie: I like making snowmen. It’s fun! And after I play outside, I like having hot chocolate. It’s gooooood! 🙂 Snow looks like white cotton candy.

Ava: I like when you are the first one to step in the snow.

Heman: I like it when it is snowing because I can have snowball fights with my brother. I dress up warm in the snow. The snow looks like clouds. It is quiet in the snow. It feels calm in the snow. Snow is so slippery!

Arianne: I love snow because I like to make snow angels and snow bunnies. when it snows, it is like white paint everwhere. We dress up in warm clothes. I throw snow!

Shereese: I like the snow because we could make a snowman and a snowball fight. It feels so cold. When we are cold, we ask for hot chocolate. I like when my Mom makes hot chocolate and whip cream on it.

Kevin: I like when snow is calm. I like to make a snow castle to play in it. Snow looks like white paper. You have to dress warm for a snowy day,