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The Snowman    by Raymond Briggs order for
by Raymond Briggs
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 1986 (1978)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Raymond Briggs brings a different approach to young readers in The Snowman. In an oversized book (originally published in 1978), Briggs conveys the story of a magical Snowman who comes to life and befriends a lonely Boy, through 175 subtly-colored picture frames.

The Boy wakes one morning to a glorious snowfall. He dresses warmly, talks to Mom, and dashes out into the winter wonderland. The snow is the perfect kind, sticky enough to build a snowman. The Boy adds a hat, scarf, eyes, nose, buttons, and carves a smile in the snowman's face. Back in the house, the Boy waits through the night with obvious delight and anxiety, wishing and watching out his window for his snow creation to come to life. And, Snowman does just that, tipping his hat as a greeting to the Boy.

The adventure continues as Snowman is welcomed into the home and shown around the rooms, avoiding the fireplace! What do you think would happen if Snowman went near the fire? Snowman and Boy have a wonderful day together, playing with the punch ball, driving the family car, and making a bed of ice for Snowman to rest on. Then Snowman returns the favor by taking the Boy on a tour of the city, flying through the night.

The beauty of Raymond Briggs's illustrations is that child and parents can make up the words and thoughts for each picture, expressing what the Snowman and the Boy would say to each other, and perhaps giving each another name aside from Snowman and Boy. The Snowman is a treasure to include in children's bookshelves at home, school, and library. Add your own expression and imagination, and enjoy it each wondrous winter season.

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