The Rabbit and the Snowman is a sweet picture book that came into our house this week. Written and illustrated by Sally O. Lee, the book tells the story of a snowman who was built by a group of (multicultural) children one winter day. The children leave the snowman, presumably to head home; the snowman feels sad and wonders if he did something to offend them, or if he was perhaps not good enough to be their friend. “Maybe his carrot nose wasn’t straight enough … maybe his stick arms were too skinny.”
Shortly thereafter, along comes a rabbit who befriends the snowman. The two spend the rest of the winter together, talking about all the wonderful sights and sounds of the forest, ”how the sun trickled through the trees to make streams of light … how the stars lit up the sky when it was dark.” As winter turns to spring, the snowman disappears. Rabbit is left wondering, as snowman did earlier, if he has done something wrong.
Rabbit manages to enjoy the next few seasons, but the ache for his friend snowman comes again when other forest animals leave in the fall. Winter arrives, and rabbit finds the snowman back in the field. The two pick up their friendship right where it left off in the spring, and “talked until the sun went down and all the stars sparkled in the sky.”
The text is accompanied by pen and ink and watercolor illustrations. The colors are vibrant and engaging, allowing a non-reader to re-tell the story after only a few readings. Aside from detailed pictures that mimic the text, Lee adds nice filler and background drawings around blocks of text (a frame of carrots, or sticks and coal for example). We like the detail of “the end” written in sticks on a field of snow at the end of the story.
This is a lovely story about the ebbs and flows of friendship. Children learn that it’s OK to feel sad when a friendship fades, and that it isn’t a reflection of a personality flaw. Having moved with young children several times, I appreciate the reminder that people come in and out of our lives; some we stay connected to, other relationships fade away.
Takeaway from my 6-year-old “Little Woman”: It’s cool to read about a snowman on such a hot day. You don’t have to read this book only in the winter.”
Takeaway from my 3-year-old “Little Man”: I like that the snowman hugs the rabbit; how does he do that with stick arms?”
Sally O. Lee segued into writing after many years of painting and drawing. She has authored 18 children’s books and two novellas. More information about the author/illustrator and her work can be found on her website.