Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Wintry Picture Books

My newest book, BARN AT NIGHT came out recently, and I painted a bunch of snow scenes for it, which got me reminiscing about my favorite winter picture books – old and new! This was going to be a top 10 of my favorite wintry books, but there are too many!

I seem to have a penchant for fox books: FOX DANCE is slightly instructional - the fox wonders what he should do as all the other animals are preparing for winter. FOX'S GARDEN is a gorgeous wordless story of kindness, and THE SNOW FOX is an absolutely charming friendship tale.

BEFORE MORNING has some of the most scrumptious poetic language, and it tells the story of a child's wish for snow. The visuals add another layer with the airline pilot mother getting snowed in and coming home. SMALL IN THE CITY is a quiet, wistful story that shows a city in winter as a boy talks to his (temporarily) missing cat. 

FLORA AND THE PENGUIN is a fun, wordless friendship story. LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD is a great twist on the original story. SNOW SISTERS has a fantastic mirrored text which is reflected in the adventures of two sisters. And SUPER TRUCK is a plucky little trash truck who comes to the rescue in a snow storm. 

Two cozy winter books are BEAR AND CHICKEN, which is about misunderstandings and unlikely friends. And THE BEAR SNORES ON, which is a delightful party while bear hibernates story.

SEASIDE STROLL reminds me so strongly of the years I lived on the Northern California coast – and shows a glimpse of a rocky beach habitat. OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW is a great peek into the life of animals during the winter. 

Some of my favorites are old classics. You just can't beat the charm of Peter's neighborhood exploration, or the stunning visuals of midnight owling. These stories are always top of mind for me in the winter. 

And finally, BARN AT NIGHT – it was great fun to illustrate Michelle Hout's text, and contrasting the chill snowy scenes with the warm barn interiors was one of my favorite parts. 

I have more wintry books on my pinterest board, if you can't get enough! I'm sure there are many more that I didn't recall, I'd love to hear about your favorites! 
Jen Betton wrote and illustrated HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG (Penguin-Putnam) and illustrated TWILIGHT CHANT by Holly Thompson (Clarion-HMH), and BARN AT NIGHT, by Michelle Houts and (Feeding Minds Press).

You can find more of her work here:

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