The wicked freezing temperatures as of late drew me to a book dealing with the harsh effects of winter. The Big Snow, Caldecott Medal winner for illustration in 1949, is by Berta and Elmer Hader and follows animals in the forest as they prepare for a big storm. I won’t pretend that the story is all that interesting, but I will not lie about the amazing art. I have always enjoyed a realistic style of art over abstract and The Big Snow delivers in spades. The book has an Audubon Society feel to it without feeling cold and scientific. There is also something cool about the mid-twentieth century vibe the book sports.
The animals in The Big Snow deal with the coming storm in their own way. Some birds get out of dodge, while others decided to stay. Some animals hibernate, while others grow thicker fur and store food. The ending is sweet if not very realistic. Some of the animals are hungry after the storm and nice people from the nearby town put out food for the starving critters. Ah, simpler times. I won’t ruin the surprise for you at the end, but I will mention it involves a groundhog, so you can probably guess.