The Snowman and the Sun is the story of a snowman and the water cycle but it is also a sensitive reflection on the question of change and our place within those changes.
I was reminded of this picture book last week. There was a heavy fall of snow in our village and excited children built an army of snowmen, some in front gardens and many in our local park. They stood, suitably socially distanced, across what is normally the football pitch. I returned three days later to see that they had been reduced to sad lumps of varying sizes, no longer the characters that the children had enjoyed playing with. The weather forecast is promising the return of snow any day now so I imagine the snowmen will return. This picture book could be about them. This is, on the face of it, the story of the water cycle. Told from the snowman’s point of view the reader watches as he melts under the warm sun and then is transformed in stages until he eventually returns as a snowman once more, the water cycle complete. However there is a little more to it than that.
This is a book that prompts a lot of questions. The text makes it apparent that the snowman does not really disappear as the sun shines, he is ‘transformed’. The snowman continues to tell the story of how it feels as he changes; when the ground tickles him as a puddle and when he feels chilly as a cloud. It is a lovely touch to have him falling as a snowflake back outside the home of the little boy who first built him. A curious child will not only grasp the concept of the water cycle but also wonder about some of the detail in the illustrations. The snowman melts but the little boy is still clutching his ice cream. The hat first worn by the snowman appears later worn by the little boy and then perched on a chimney pot and also on top of an umbrella. There is a bee behaving in an un-bee like manner to spot as we read. So many questions!
This is most definitely a picture book that deserves to be lingered over. It is suitable for the very young as a straight forward tale about our friendly snowman but would also work well in the classroom as part of the science curriculum or for thoughtful philosophical discussion.
There are links to downloadable resources and a poster on the Tiny Owl website where you can also purchase a copy of the book. I should like to thank Tiny Owl Books for sending me my review copy.
Here is a lovely trailer created by Tiny Owl Books to give you a taste…