Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 140: Katy and the Big Snow

Much to my delight, this winter is proving to be one of the warmest on record here in New England.  We haven't had snow on the ground for more than a few days all season, and one of those storms was back in October.  Usually, I love a good snow storm and am happy have a white winter (at least for a little while), but not this year.  I think Mother Nature must be seeking forgiveness from last year's brutal winter, and I'll admit I'm appreciative of the gesture.  I've been waiting to feature one of our favorite winter reads for a day when we're getting a big storm, but with temperatures looking like they'll stay in the 40s (~ 5C), no snow in sight, and March just two weeks away, I'm just going to feature this wonderful book now and hope that spring is just around the corner.

Virginia Lee Burton has written some absolutely fabulous books for children, and Katy and the Big Snow is one of our favorites.  If you are unfamiliar with her stories, you really must look for them the next time you are at the library.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  Katy and the Big Snow was first published in 1943 and has been a classic ever since. "Katy was a beautiful red crawler tractor.  She was very big and very strong and she could do a lot of things."  Serving as tractor and bulldozer in summer and a plow in winter, Katy works hard for the highway department of the City of Geoppolis.  One winter, a big snow falls upon the city, and it's up to Katy to plow everyone out.  Each time someone new calls for help, Katy is there with her plow and a happy, helpful, "Follow me!"  Thanks to Katy, the police can get out to protect the city, the postman can get out to deliver the mail, the doctor can get to his patient, and the fire department can get to a fire.  The story line might be simple -- the town gets snowed in and Katy saves the day -- but it somehow never gets old.  In some ways, I feel the illustrations surrounding the text are what really make the story.  There are just so many fabulous little details in these images that bring such life to the book!  I just love Burton's border drawings of all the different trucks that make up the highway department's fleet, and my son always studies each one carefully.  I'm sure the fact that the story features plows and trucks and trains only makes him love the book all the more.  And the map of Geoppolis?!  Don't get my geography teacher self started on how much I love that!  What a fabulous way to introduce the concept of maps to young children!  Complete with a compass rose and a key of all of the buildings in town, this map is revisited throughout the story as Katy plows each building out, one by one.  It makes me want to find a big map of our town and show my son where are all of these buildings are near us, too.  Better yet, maybe we'll have to draw our own!  My son is begging me to read this him now as I write, so I suppose I'll wrap things up here.  But you see where I'm going with this.  Katy and the Big Snow is a must read, whether there's snow where you are or not.  This is one book I'm happy to curl up in the sunshine and read on this warm February day.


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