I was a little sad to learn that Mark Jones, who illustrated Harriet Ziefert’s Snow Party (Blue Apple) has never built a snowman. It doesn’t show in his work, though. Or maybe it does. Jones’ snow people live and breathe and interact in a way quite beyond anything we’ve experienced. And so maybe that was his secret weapon. And maybe that’s part of the reason that Snow Party works so well. Perhaps Jones has brought a wistful wishfulness to his illustrations. A “what should be” or, perhaps, “what might have been.” I like to think so, anyway. And it would explain a lot.
Snow Party is intended for very young children. It is sweet and gentle and fun and it celebrates the season in a way that manages to be both non-denominational and non-moralistic. To many of us in the 21st century, the Christmas season has come to be a time of sharing and sweetness and family and food. Snow Party celebrates those ideals. With charm. A lovely, gentle book.