Sugar White Snow and Evergreens

Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color takes a brisk breakfast sleigh ride with hungry twins and their parents as they visit Mr. Sweet’s Farm to see maple trees tapped and learn how maple syrup is made. The morning sky may be steely grey, but this family takes special delight in discovering that the colors of winter—from purple shadows to red cardinals to chuffing yellow tractors—shine even brighter against the crisp white snow. This is the third in a rhyming picture books series inspired by family and school visits to farms, farm stands, and farmers markets in Hunterdon County, New Jersey—the great Garden State!

Along with Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes, Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting, and Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites, Sugar White Snow is published by Albert Whitman & Company and beautifully illustrated by Susan Swan.

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PreS-Gr 2—Following the format of Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvesting of Shapes (2013) and Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting (2014, both Albert Whitman), Chernesky again smoothly blends concepts, in this case colors, into a continuing series about a nuclear family. Here, they venture outdoors on a cold winter morning, without breakfast, to travel to Mr. Sweet’s Famous Sugar Maple Farm. After joining neighbors and friends in a good natured snowball fight, the foursome traverses glittery white snow, leaving behind blue sleigh tracks. Arriving at the farm, the children spot silver pails collecting sweet sap and see boiling sap in the sugar shack. At the end of their journey, a farmhouse meal of rainbow colored foods, including pancakes and syrup, awaits the family. Written in easy rhyme, the mellow text pairs well with Swan’s realistic artwork, which places the story in a lovely winter setting, reinforcing the color concepts in her indoor and outdoor scenes. The steely gray sky is mirrored in the family’s morning clothing. Yellows bring warmth to the cold winter day. A red cardinal pops against a snowy landscape. Human faces seem stiff in comparison to the softer landscapes, animals, and carrot nose snowman. Names of different colors are printed in their respective colors, setting the words apart from the otherwise black text. This cordial story of a family spending quality time together is a decent choice for curricular use in lessons about winter, farms, or colors and will fit nicely into collections already including Chernesky and Swan’s other seasonal concept books.—Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OH, School Library Journal

The dead of winter might not seem the most likely avenue for exploring color, but, set against the white snow and gray skies, winter’s palette is vibrant and alive. A family heads to a sugar-maple farm one cold, snowy morning to see the harvest and watch sap boil into sugar. Throughout the day, they encounter small but brilliant flashes of color everywhere they look, from the orange carrot of a snowman’s nose to the pink cheeks of their friends playing in the cold. Chernesky clearly sees the world with an artist’s eye, focusing on small details with an excitement children will recognize. Although the rhymes don’t always flow smoothly, the overall narrative is paced well and reflects the simple wonder of exploring nature, and boldface color words on each spread help emphasize the hue in focus. Swan’s digital-collage illustrations are heavily layered and textured, and the spreads featuring warm colors are especially successful. Gold tones all but glow after following several pages of silver and gray, and the final landscape, which includes every color, is a rich, lively symphony. Summer Hayes, Booklist

It’s maple syrup season! One cold, gray morning, a family gets ready to take a trip to the farm to hunt for golden maple syrup. They play in the white snow with friends before climbing aboard a sleigh which takes them on a colorful trip to the farm. Bright colors are all around – a red cardinal bird, the snowman’s orange carrot nose, a yellow tractor, pink cheeks, green evergreen trees. When they arrive at Mr. Sweet’s Famous Sugar Maple Farm, they notice that each tree has a silver pail to collect the sweet sap. The farmer shows them the sugar shack where they boil the sap in sturdy black pans. Finally it’s time for some breakfast! Inside the farmhouse their snowsuits hang on pegs making a rainbow of colors, while on the table a golden pancake and maple syrup awaits.

The simple, rhyming text in this book introduces or reinforces so many colors and is beautifully illustrated with vibrant artwork. I’m certainly ready for a winter’s sleigh ride to a farm while taking in the colorful sights along the way!—Wendy, Park Ridge Public Library Children’s Staff, Books We Love

Booktalking “Sugar White Snow and Evergreens” by Felicia Chernesky

Gray morning sky and chipmunks
Brown snowsuits
Gold maple syrup and tractors
Blue jays
Glittering white landscape
Red cardinals
Orange carrot nose on a snowman
Pink glowing cheeks
Evergreen trees
Rainbow hats, gloves and scarves

The illustrations in this book are exquisite, and I love how Swan emphasizes single colors in the double-page spreads.—Miranda J. McDermo, New York Public Library Kids!

Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color takes young readers on an adventure to a farm to get some maple syrup. On their trip they have a snowball fight, see sap being collected in pails, visit a sugar shack, go on a sleigh ride and eat some pancakes.

Children can learn their colours with this story as objects are described by their colours including gray sky, brown snowsuits and yellow tractor. In all 14 colours are featured: gray, brown gold, blue, white, red, orange, yellow, pink, silver, black, amber, purple and green. —Glenn Perrett, “Nature and Other Children’s Books,” Northumberland News

So often when we think of winter the colors that come to mind are dull whites, grays, and browns.  This book reminds us of the beautiful colors of winter.  Pink cheeks, bright evergreen trees, purple tracks and shadows through the snow, and more.  My girls loved this beautiful, bright winter book.  I recommend it for toddlers and preschoolers. —“Books about Winter,” Cutting Tiny Bites

Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: a winter wonderland of color by Felicia Chernesky is simply a winter treat for the eyes. It will remind children that this season can be something other than white.—“New and Perfect for the Season,” Kids@RML

A family travels to Mr. Sweet’s Famous Sugar Maple Farm. When they get there, they see silver pails hanging on trees, collecting sap. The family then visits the sugar shack and watches the sap get boiled down. The book’s pages are filled with rhyming text that focuses on colors and illustrations that show the snowy wonder of winter.—Gail Terp, “More Cozy Books to Help You Appreciate This Winter Season,” Best Blog for Kids Who Hate to Read

It’s maple syrup season so the family heads for the farm. The very simple verse Takes Time to Rhyme so that this story is told in a way to delight even toddlers. A different color is artfully highlighted on each page until the end when they all come together. —JoCoLibrary-6 by 6-Take Time to Rhyme

The story opens on a family of four, who—judging from a telling illustration of the breakfast table—are running low on maple syrup. The kids are hungry but Mom suggests they go on a maple hunting adventure, seeing it is maple season. So off they go in a horse-drawn sleigh from one wintry scene to the next as random colors burst forth all around them (it is a sensory book after all, full of colorful wonders at which the little ones are sure to marvel). When they reach a farmhouse in the distance, which looks too warm and cozy to be missed, they finally fill their bellies with the coveted prize—maple syrup, which flows warm and sweet on delicious looking stacks of pancakes.

This was a sweet little read with quaint and fitting illustrations that were simple yet effective. Winter is also on beautiful display and we’re greeted by welcoming views of nature.—Daniel Middleton, Middleton Publishing