The Snowy Day By Ezra Jack Keats and Activities
Review by wannabwester
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats won the prestigious Caldecott Award in 1963. The book is not only a fine story, but also featured the first African American main character to be depicted in a children's picture book. This ground-breaking book was followed by several others written by Keats, including A Whistle for Willie, Peter's Chair, A Letter To Amy, and Goggles.
The story is of Peter, a boy who lives in an apartment in the city, and his adventures in the snow. The boy Peter is an appealing "every child" in this story, as the author leads us through Peter's journey of discovery while he plays.
Peter crunches the snow with his feet, makes footprints and tracks through the snow, and drags a stick in snow. Peter is momentarily disappointed when the big boys don't include him in their snowball fight, and so instead he builds a snowman, makes snow angels, and slides down a snow mountain. Peter ends his full day of snow play by taking a warm bath and thinking of his adventures.
Two songs to use to compliment this book are a verse from the song made popular by Barney the Dinosaur and a little tune called Once there Was a Snowman. Once there was a snowman is an action song. Pretend to stand "tall,tall, tall" and as the snowman shrinks in the sun, bend your knees and melt into the ground.
Here are the relevant words to the Barney song:
If All the Snowflakes were candy bars and milkshakes, Oh what a snow that would be! I'd stand outside with my mouth open wide (ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah) Oh what a snow that would be
Children love to follow the leader in a story that requires them to do the actions with you. So create your own action story based on the things that Peter does in the story The Snowy Day. You can use the following as a guideline or adapt to make your own Snowy Day action story.
Take a walk in the snow
It's time to wake up! (Yawn and stretch and rub your eyes)
Ohhh, snow! (Raise your arms in the air in big surprise)
Time to get our coat and hat (Pretend to put on your coat, followed by your hat)
Ooops! Don't forget your gloves! (Pretend to put on gloves)
Ooh it's cold! Let's stomp our feet in the snow (stomp, stomp, stomp)
I can take my stick and make a line in the snow (drag your pretend stick on the ground)
Time to make snowballs! (Pretend to scoop some snow from the ground and make the snowball in your hands.)
Wow it tastes cold (Stick out your tongue and taste your snowball.)
I hear Mom calling! Time to go inside and have a nice warm cup of chocolate! (Pretend to run to the door, and take a pretend glass.)
That was delicious! Mmm good! (pat or rub your tummy and shake your head up and down).
Activities and Explorations
Weather permitting, put on your coats and gloves, and play in the snow! Build a snowman, make a snow angel, and crunch the snow with your boots. Have fun!
Ezra Jack Keats loved to paint as a child. Give children black or dark blue paper and white tempera paint, and suggest they paint something that they liked about the book The Snowy Day.
Be the Best Nanny Newsletter suggests giving children a black piece of construction paper and a piece of white chalk to draw a snow scene. A little glue and glitter can make the snow sparkle on the drawing.
Stop by next week for another Weekly Trip to the Library.
What do you like to do with kids in the snow?