Picture book takes chill off

By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL Associated Press Writer Published:

One of the best ways to enjoy a winter day is curled up with a good book. And for younger readers, it might be a quick fix for cabin fever.

New picture books that bring winter fun inside:

Snowball Fight! (Dutton, $15.99, ages 4-8) by Jimmy Fallon of Saturday Night Live fame and illustrated by Adam Stower. Few things in life make children happier than a no-school day, a snow day. But its not a slacker day. A snowball fight is inevitable and one has to have a strategy. If it fails, theres always the potential for a fireside truce.

Skating With the Bears (Dutton, $15.99, ages 4-8) by Andrew Breakspeare. Little Tim has trouble learning to skate until some snowy white bears appear to hold his hands. After a bit of slipping and sliding, Tim not only masters gliding but also twirls and other fancy steps. More importantly, though, he makes a good friend.

In the Snow (Greenwillow, $15.99, ages 3 and up) by Sharon Phillips Denslow and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri. A child wearing a rainbow assortment of winter gear leaves a treat for his feathered and furry friends. First to enjoy the seeds on otherwise spartan, snow-covered land is a chickadee, followed by sparrow and then a cardinal. It doesnt take long for other creatures to get wind of the windfall.

Snow Day (Readers Digest, $12.99, ages 4-8) by Sue Kassirer and illustrated by Philomena ONeill. A boys imagination takes him on an Alpine adventure when his mom says a blizzard is blowing too strong for him to actually go outside. Even a day of pretend dogsledding, skiing, skating and rolling snowballs can leave you a little pooped but not so tired that you cant go sledding when the real snow lets up.

A Really Good Snowman (Clarion, $15, ages 5-8) by Daniel J. Mahoney. Jack doesnt really want his sister Nancys help in building a snowman, but she really needs his help. Jack makes a heartwarming choice at the parks snowman building contest and is rewarded with a very important trophy.

Little Polar Bear and the Reindeer (North-South, $15.95, ages 4-8) by Hans de Beer. Lars finds life on the North Pole a bit lonely. But the frisky polar bear makes a friend when Oliver becomes separated from a herd of migrating reindeer. Lars also learns that being a good friend sometimes means saying Goodbye until we meet again.

Penelope in the Winter (Scholastic, $9.99, ages 3-5) by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben. A blue koala shares her day with young readers through a series of pull tabs that reveal her winter wardrobe, her snowman-making technique and her missing sled. After keeping busy all day long, Penelope is ready for bed and kids get to help her with that, too.

Winter Friends (Doubleday, $15.95, ages 2-5) by Mary Quattlebaum and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata. A series of poems are strung together by a theme: How a city girl spends her day in the snow. First she looks out her window to admire the quiet blanket over sleeping city. She finds a mitten, which is surely being missed by a peer. Then its off to the park for some fun and then back home for some hot cocoa.

Snowbaby Could Not Sleep (Little, Brown, $14.99, ages 4-8) by Kara LaReau and illustrated by Jim Ishikawa. Snowpeople need their sleep, too. But on this chilly night, Snowbaby simply cant drift off. He tries counting snowflakes and drinks an ice-cold glass of water, but then he complains the wind is too loud. Earmuffs dont do the trick. Snuggling snowdoggie does.

Mouses First Snow (Simon & Schuster, $12.95, ages 2-6) by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Buket Erdogan. A mouse and his dad venture from their warm, snug home for a day of fun in the snow. And if Poppa can make a snow angel, sled down a hill and roll perfectly round snowballs, so can his little buddy who stays arm with a fuzzy red hat and scarf.

Snow Moon (Viking, $15.99, ages 4 and up) by Nicholas Brunelle. A snowy owl beckons a boy from his bed to gleaming Crescent Bay. Underneath an icy bridge, he finds Owl Ridge, where feathers fill the sky like snowflakes.

Biscuits Snowy Day (HarperCollins, $4.99, ages 2-6) by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by Pat Schories. Even with his golden canine coat, Biscuit needs to bundle up to go outside and play in the snow. When he comes back inside, he warms up by the fire and takes a little snooze.

Baby Donald Makes a Snowfriend/Bebe Donald Hace un Amigo de Nieve (Scholastic, $3.99, ages newborn-3). A bilingual Donald Duck uses his newfound knowledge about shapes to build a fantastic snowman.

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