Snowballs by Lois Ehlert.
A family saves items like woolen hats, seeds, fruit, and buttons for just the right day, when they can put them to good use by creating an entire snow family. Once the snow melts, many of the items can be eaten by birds searching for food in the snow.
Given the weather we've been having over the past few weeks, this book seemed a pretty appropriate choice. In fact, I had just read this book to Silas on the day of our big storm, when we went out and made our own snowman. Because of this book, I made sure to use items like raisons and beans because I thought the birds would benefit from them after the snow melted.
Lois Ehlert is one of my favorite picture book authors. She hails from my home town of Milwaukee. Many of her books are at least somewhat rooted in her surroundings, so I always feel that we're getting a dose of the Midwest when I read her books to Silas. This is certainly true for this book, as there are photographs of real snowmen in the back, each one reminding me of the endless Wisconsin winters. Aside from that, all of her books are colorful and creatively designed. We have several other beautiful books authored by Ehlert, including two that just arrived for Silas from the LeClair family (Thanks guys! He LOVES them, and so do I!). Don't be surprised if you see some of these presented as future books of the month.
Not only is Snowballs a fun book to share with Silas, I also appreciate the fact that it teaches children to think beyond the simple joy of making a snowman to the positive impact their actions have on other living beings. Even after the snow family melts away and is no more, the birds can eat what's left behind. One of the most important traits to teach a child is empathy. This book hints at that importance, without being preachy or obvious. A lovely choice to put on your January reading shelf.