CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

H. Hutchins
Illustrated by Ruth Ohi

Toronto, Annick Press, 1989. 22pp, cloth, ISBN 1 55037-050-2 (paper) $4.95, 1-55037-053-7 (cloth) $12.95
Distributed by Firefly Books. (Annick Toddler series). CIP

Preschool to grade 2 / Ages 3 to 7
Reviewed by Janice Foster.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

Leanna agrees to take her young brother Norman out to play, provided he doesn't lose his mittens, so her mother sews them to a long string looped through Norman's coat sleeves. Once that problem is solved the children venture outdoors for some winter fun.

When Norman asks Leanna to make him "more" snowballs she explains to him that what he wants is "bigger" not "more." Norman soon masters his new word and together the children build a gigantic snowball. During the process, however, Norman loses all of his outdoor clothing except for his mittens. Not until he is turning blue does his sister notice that he is wearing only his underwear and mittens. She then rushes him indoors to warm up. When his mother searches for his lost clothing she fails to find anything.

Losing mittens is a problem both children and parents can readily identify with. However, in illustrating the success of Norman's mother's solution, the author has stretched the credibility of the story-line. The fact that Norman is turning blue before his sister even notices the loss of all his clothing is farfetched even for the very young audience. The concern of safety also arises in several incidents. The children's method of launching the large snowball down the hill appears danger­ous, as does Norman's turning blue with cold. The issue of safety comes up again in the text when it states that the children run a nice warm bath "them­selves" and then they are seated by the fire while Mom leaves to search for the missing clothing. If the intended audience is "young" children these poor judgements in safety must be identified and discussed by the adult reader.

The delightful illustrations by Ruth Ohi enhance the text. Their clarity and simplicity will appeal to the child. The author illustrates the concept of "big­ger" very well for the toddler and young children will enjoy the growing snowball. The young audience will also find the surprising new uses of Nor­man's clothes at the end of the book amusing.

The overall theme of Norman's Snowball is a relevant and enjoyable one for young children. Before purchasing or reading this book to children consider both the issue of safety and the plausi­bility of a toddler losing nearly all of his clothing to the point of nearly freezing.

Janice Foster, Winnipeg, Man.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works