3 out of 4 stars
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In The Scary Snow Day, children's author Kyle Derby Pratt introduces us to Timmy, a young boy who wakes one wintry morning to find that school has been canceled! Seizing the unexpected opportunity - and his sled - our hero rushes outside to try conquering the huge, snowy hill down the road from his house. Will Timmy's fear prove even larger than that hill?"Compared to that hill, he was so short and so small; was he brave enough to go? He wasn’t sure at all."
This book and Timmy are, in a word, adorable. The straightforward, relatable plot will enable children to easily empathize with Timmy. I know I did, especially when he imagines himself dwarfed by the looming hill he hopes to sled down. The ABCB rhyme scheme, with one "stanza" per page, will tickle the ears of young listeners and engage new readers. I think people of all ages can relate to Timmy's waffling between excitement and self-doubt in the face of his goal. On that note, I would suggest a question or two at the end for adults and kids to talk about after reading the book. For example, "Do you sometimes feel like Timmy, afraid to try something? What can you do to squash those fears?"
The best features of Pratt's book, in my opinion, are Lauren Scott's colorful, eye-catching illustrations. Timmy's wistful blue eyes are the reason I felt for him when he gazed longingly out his window, wondering if he could overcome his nervousness. I also appreciate that the large, high-contrast text is smoothly legible against the pictures, which is easier on young (and old) eyes.
All gushing aside, though, The Scary Snow Day needs a proofreader's attention. While I didn't see any misspelled words, I found several errors related to the use (or lack of) commas, hyphens, and ellipses. I feel that impeccable editing is very important in a children's book, as the intended audience is learning correct spelling and punctuation through reading. Also, a couple of the rhymes sounded forced to me, although that may not bother little kids. I did catch one inconsistency in the illustrations: Timmy's room has rocket-ship wallpaper, but on page 10, the rockets are gone, only to reappear on page 11.
These issues forced me to remove a star from my rating, but the book's images, plot, and universal life lesson made me wish I could award it 3.5 stars. Since that isn't an option, I happily give The Scary Snow Day, by Kyle Derby Pratt, 3 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend it to all people who want to encourage the kids in their lives to face challenges with confidence.
The Scary Snow Day
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