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Snow day!

And oh, the excitement! From me mostly on Saturday night, peeping out the window every five minutes to check it was still snowing! And then Sunday morning when Milo woke up to look out the window at the blanket of white that had covered our little corner of South East London.

He’s been lucky. It’s snowed every year since he’s been born but now that he’s three he wants to do everything. Build snowmen, throw snowballs, skid, slide, shuffle like a penguin and drink hot chocolate when he’s feeling cold. Fair enough! For me, it felt like a great opportunity to get out Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal (Chronicle Books) and introduce Milo to this beautiful book.

So after a morning in the park doing everything on Milo’s list of “fun things to do in the snow” we came home to a cosy read before his nap. Over and Under the Snow is a lovely book especially for any child interested in nature and who enjoys reading non-fiction. It follows the journey of a little girl and her father as they ski through the woods on their way home. As they ski, they discuss the animals living beneath the snow, their habitats and how they survive the winter months.

Kate Messner’s writing is poetic, thoughtful and informative and Christopher Silas Neal’s illustrations compliment the text perfectly. They are quietly stunning, giving the nature surrounding our guides of the girl and her father, centre stage.

Over and Under the Snow is ideal for a curious toddler and there’s even a handy guide at the back of the book with further information about each creature so when the inevitable “why” questions come up, you’re ready to go with answers.

The little girl finishes her skiing trip through the woods and the snow at a bonfire where she toasts marshmallows with her dad and mum.

“Over the snow, the fire crackles, and sparks shoot up to the stars. I lick the sticky marshmallow from my lips  and lean back with heavy eyes. Shadows dance in the flames.”

Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Unfortunately we didn’t have any veggie friendly marshmallows in the house so we decided that our afternoon would consist of making some mini gingerbread houses and hot chocolate ready for a re-reading of Over and Under the Snow (while our snow melted away outside).

I’d seen this fab looking post on notmartha.org for “mini gingerbread houses that perch on the edge of a mug”, before Christmas when I was looking for a little decorating inspiration for Milo’s Christmas gingerbread house and decided they were a must. I didn’t use the recipe suggested but chose the simplest and quickest gingerbread recipe we have from my old, reliable Pooh Bear cook book!

Very simple to make and construct. Not quite enough time to decorate properly, but managed a little icing on the roof, glitter (for snow of course!) and added a star on the front of the houses as Milo loves stars!

Perfect end to our snowy day.

Thank you to Chronicle Books for sending me a copy of Over and Under the Snow for review. All opinions are my own and my family’s.

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