Heart of a Snowman: A Picture Book Review

Heart of Snowman by Mary Kurlya and Eugene YelchinEvery Christmas Eve, Owen builds the best snowman that he can. He knows that the at the heart of a snowman is a perfect snowball. And Owen is an expert on making snowballs (none of that slushy snow–good snowballs need powdery snow that’s a bit melty.) But no matter how perfect he makes it, the snowman always melts the next day on Christmas.

Owen is certain there has to be a way to help his snowman last longer. So, on Christmas Eve night, when a mysterious vessel abducts his snowman, Owen decides to follow in Heart of a Snowman by Mary Kurlya and Eugene Yelchin. What he finds is an immaculate factory where animals tear snowmen down to their snowflake components to make them like new–to make the perfect snowman. What the animals don’t realize is that the heart of a perfect snowman is the reason it can never last.

Heart of a Snowman is a weird book. The factory is clinical and, during the snowman disassembly phase, a bit frightening. On my first reading the book seemed a bit strange and I wondered at the story. But after re-reading it I feel more supportive. The audience for this book is narrow. With the Christmas aspect you’d have to be careful to balance it out to keep a storytime secular. Also, being a city child myself, I don’t know how universal the experience of building a snowman really is–I know I never built one.

On the other hand, keeping those caveats in mind, Heart of a Snowman does have a certain charm. The story, while strange, is endearing. And the illustrations are nothing short of remarkable. Definitely worth a look.