Cover image for When it starts to snow
When it starts to snow
Gershator, Phillis.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt ; Boston : National Braille Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Various animals tell what they do and where they go when it starts to snow.
Reading Level:
Braille Grade level 2.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Print Braille Central Closed Stacks

On Order



What if it startsto snow?What do you do?Where do you go?What if it starts to snow. What do you do? Where do you go?" So begins this winter story, as each animal - from a mouse to a bear - tells us what it will do and where it will go when the snow starts to fall. Each takes cover in its own special home, except for one. Can you guess who?Phillis Gershator's chant-along verse encourages listener participation, and is best enjoyed when read aloud. The inquisitive text and dashing illustrations by Martin Matje make this a delightful picture book for reading under the covers when the weather gets chilly. Poetic and imaginative, When It Starts to Snow celebrates winter in all its cozy glory.

Author Notes

Phillis Gershator is the author of several books for children, including Bread Is for Eating , illustrated by Emma Shaw-Smith, which was a Reading Rainbow Feature Selection. She lives with her husband on the island of St. Thomas. Martin Matje has illustrated many books for children in his native France. When It Starts to Snow marks his children's book debut in America. He lives with his family in Paris.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-7. In simple rhymes and soothingly rhythmic language, common animals describe, in succession, their responses to falling snow: " `I creep into the house,' / says the mouse. / Cold winds blow / when it starts to snow." From birds and water dwellers to farm and forest animals, each creature has characteristic places to go and things to do. After the bear declares, "Time to sleep," a wordless, mostly white spread marks a change of tone and creates a quietness, and a child, who has already put in occasional background appearances, emerges and bursts out to play with an exuberant "Hip Hip Hurray!" Matje, a French illustrator, makes his American debut with uncluttered gouache scenes of simply drawn creatures, seen through a mild, fluffy snowfall. Although the text is longer here, the mood and simplicity of expression recall Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day (1962) and Ruth Krauss' The Happy Day (1949). --John Peters

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this engaging picture book about the chain of events set in motion by a snowfall, a cluster of animals respond in rhyme to a boy's question: "What if it starts to snow? What do you do? Where do you go?" Gershator (Bread Is for Eating) writes with a simple, lilting eloquence, using the book's title as an incantatory closing refrain to each creature's response: " `The water is chilly,' says the fish./ `It's best to lie low.'/ Swish, shh, shh/ when it starts to snow." Once every animal has retreated to its proper refuge, a wordless spread of the boy peering out from among a stand of trees at a blanket of white mimics the silence that falls along with the snow. In the final pages, the boy emerges from his comfy bedroom to play ("Hip hip hurray!"). French artist Matje inventively renders the winter sky in the color of hot chocolate tinted with whipped cream, a perfect evocation of both the coziness and chill of a snowy day. This striking visual element provides the backdrop for his boldly graphic characterizations: a crow is formed on a simple S-curve, a rooster and hen have the proportions of giant parade balloons and everyone, even the hulking bear, has tiny, bright eyes that peer out at the audience in comic wonder. With words that roll off the tongue, pictures of charming woodland inhabitants and a dash of science, this one will have readers raring to go on a snow quest of their own. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-A young boy asks various wild and domestic animals how they prepare for the arrival of snow. The verse varies from forced ("`I look for seeds,'/says the sparrow./Peck, peck, peck/when it starts to snow") to scientifically inaccurate ("`We fly south,'/say the geese,/`all in a row'"). While the text is unexciting, Matje's gouache and colored-pencil illustrations are lively and the animals' expressions range from baleful to sly as they ponder what they do. The quality illustrations rescue this mediocre text.-Farida Shapiro, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.