The Summer Snowman

summersnowman

by Gene Zion, Pictures by Margaret Bloy Graham

Harper & Row, 1955

On the last day of winter, when it snowed for the last time, Henry and his brother Pete made a little snowman…an especially small one. It was so much fun, they didn’t even hear their mother calling them for supper. That night when they went to bed, they tried to fall asleep but kept getting up and going to the window to look down at the little snowman standing in the cold, bright moonlight on their front lawn…Henry started to cry…”The moon will melt the snowman and in the morning he’ll be gone!”

Anxiety about a melting snowman can only mean one thing: Mom? Can you find me room in the freezer? But the narrative here goes a bit beyond that.

Sensitive Henry doesn’t just want to save his tiny snowman from inevitably rising temperatures. He just as badly wants to trick his know-it-all brother, Pete, into believing that the moon melted their creation. Henry’s mother, in her frilly apron and just-so dresses, slyly keeps his secret. I’ve always been a fan of Gene Zion — he of Harry the Dog fame — and Graham’s three-color illustrations charm.

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