Friday 30 November 2012

ReadItdaddy's Book of the Week Part 1: Daddy's Choice, "When it Snows" by Richard Collingridge (David Fickling Books)

It's another week where so many books could easily have slid into our "Book of the Week" slot that we  feel honoured to (unofficially) be involved in children's picture books at such an amazing time. Both Charlotte and I talked about the many books we've read this week, and two books stood out. We both love them but I nominated "When it Snows" by Richard Collingridge.

You've probably already seen me talking about this on Twitter, you've probably even checked out the absolutely amazing trailer (which surely deserves turning into a fully-fledged christmas animated short film), and by now you should definitely know who Richard Collingridge is because you're going to hear an awful lot about him in the future.

A young boy and his teddy friend look on as the world grinds to a halt under a thick layer of ice and snow. Trains halt, cars are frozen to the spot but the boy soon discovers there are so many other fantastic ways to get around.

With teddy in tow, the young boy escapes into the snowy landscape to discover the wonders and delights of this time of year. Snowball fights, gigantic snowmen, santa and his elves and the wondrous orangey skies that signify fresh snow will soon be on the way.

Every page spread is filled to the brim with amazing detail, virtually leaping off the page into your lap. I'm loathe to compare it to anything else because it's so fresh and unique, but if you like the works of Raymond Briggs and Chris Van Allsburg and can imagine what they'd look like if they met the works of Shaun Tan head on, this is the sort of atmospheric and absolutely amazing artwork you can expect from "When it Snows"

It's not just all about the art though, the story is magical, spurring a child's imagination in the most wondrous ways. Some of you may know the ending to this book already but the message is clear and it's a love letter to the very thing that drives us to write this blog week in week out.

The only criticism I'd have about this book, and it's a tiny one, is the title which seems destined to lose itself in a blizzard of other very similarly named snowy books. So this is why I will probably keep talking about 'When it Snows' long after Christmas has come and gone, and the last sneaky mince pie has been scoffed along with the last of the mulled wine. If you're looking for a christmassy snowy book that goes further than just introducing you to a host of cute creatures gambolling in the snow, this is the very best place to start. I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you don't want to take our word for it though, just watch this stunning trailer below:

Charlotte's best bit: The wonderful scene of elven faces staring up at the little boy as his snowy journey continues.

Daddy's favourite bit: The incredible snowman scene and the gigantic lighthouse-like snowman. Also the utterly gorgeous use of light and dark, and a fairly reduced palette make the artwork truly atmospheric and remarkable.

(Kindly sent to us for review by David Fickling Books)