Harry and the Snow King by Ian Whybrow
|Harry and the Snow King by Ian Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A delightful vignette of family life in winter and featuring Harry, Sam, Mum and Nan. Text that's a pleasure to read is accompanied by wonderful illustrations. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: October 2007|
|Publisher: Puffin Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Harry loves snow and he watched from the window as he saw some falling. When he went outside he caught a flake of snow on his tongue. It was just right and he could wait no longer to build a snow king. Unfortunately this meant that he had to gather the snow with a spoon and plate - from the corner by the woodpile, by the henhouse and if you were very careful you could even scoop it off the leaves. It took him all morning but eventually he had his snow king, with holly berries for buttons and leaves for a crown. His sister Sam called him in for lunch and he showed them all the snow king. Sam said it would be too warm to bring the snow king inside, so Harry left him on a wall, but when he went back outside, the snow king had gone.
I do love Ian Whybrow's Harry stories. He's a real lad, just at the age when he's obsessive enough about making a miniature snowman to stay outside all morning despite there not being enough snow and finally in the face of hunger. The thought that the snow king might have melted never crossed his mind. He has, naturally, been kidnapped and Mum only just stops him ringing the police. Whybrow has the relationships within the family perfectly - Harry throwing his bread at his sister Sam when she annoys him, or Sam calling him 'Stupid' when he stays outside until his soup goes cold, but still warning him not to bring the snow king inside as it would be too warm. It's simply a delightful vignette of family life, albeit spread over three generations and with Harry the sole male.
It's a story that will appeal to both boys and girls. Although Harry is the main character he's well balanced by Sam, Mum and Nan. Sam's a vivid character for all her lethargy and I suspect that she easily has the better of Harry.
The illustrations by Adrian Reynolds really lift the story out of the ordinary. The drawings are deceptively simple - eyes are mere dots and mouths just simple lines, but there is a picture of Sam in her heavy boots, flowery tights and short skirt which just shouts teenage angst. It's attitude in watercolour. The pictures illustrate the story rather than adding to it, but they are a real treat.
It's a charming winter story for the four- to seven-year-old age group, with more universal appeal than the Christmas stories which tend to lose their charm come January. The text is good to read aloud and new readers will find some difficult words but the illustrations are so specific that they should be able to work them out without too many problems.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag.
If you were looking for a (non-religious) Christmas story then Bookbag can recommend The Christmas Unicorn by Anna Currey.
You can read more book reviews or buy Harry and the Snow King by Ian Whybrow at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Harry and the Snow King by Ian Whybrow at Amazon.com.
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