Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Santa Stories

Today, I'm going to tell you about one of my favorite Santa stories.

Let's talk about Eric Carle's Dream Snow. If you don't recognize his name, you may recognize him by the titles of his classic and beloved picture books. We are introduced to a farmer who only has a few animals, which he names One, Two, Three, and Four. He also names the tree which he greets every time he passes it, Tree. Being a farmer is a busy and tiring job, and after a long day, he settles in with a cup of hot peppermint tea and a slice of bread with honey. He dreams of snowflakes that cover him and also cover the animals.

If you're a veteran reader of Eric Carle books, you know that many of his books invite the child reader to interact with the book and/or offer surprises when he/she turns the page. Whether it's poking a finger through the holes in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, seeing the moon open in Papa, Please Get Me the Moon, or listening to the cricket at the end of The Very Quiet Cricket, Carle has a knack for neat manipulatives that enhance, but don't distract, from the story. The Dream Snow is no exception. This is one of his simpler (in text) picture books-each page only has one sentence. But opposite that page, we see a clear plastic page of the snow covering the farmer and each individual animal. When we turn that page, we get a full illustration of the farmer dozing and each animal (when we first meet the animals, we are only given a glimpse of them in the barn).

And when the farmer wakes up, he remembers that he has a very important day in front of him, and we learn the farmer's true identity. I probably don't need to tell you how fabulous the illustrations are!

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