Who Has Such Things in This World

Snow, everywhere I look I see snow, piles and mountains of snow. When it has not been snowing, it is cold – Freezing cold, in the 5s, 10s, 20s and 30s cold. One morning I got in my car and the thermometer read “0″ – Z.E.R.O.  Now I know there are parts of the country, and the world for that matter, where these temperatures would feel balmy, but for this transplanted California girl, enough is enough. I have really had it with snow and cold and winter.

Yet there are moments when I look out my office window to my back yard and see a vast sea of whiteness that simply takes my breath away. How beautiful is that? I think to myself.  Or when I watch snow falling, little puffs of white floating down from on high, that I still think of as a miracle.  Or as I am out walking during a snow fall, and the temperature is just right so that individual snowflakes drop on my parka, and I see each one is unique and beautiful. Amazing, I think.

I could not find a Hebrew blessing for snow. What I use is the blessing for nature’s beauty, because no matter what, there is real beauty in watching the snow fall.

Baruch attah Adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam,
shekachah lo b’olamo.

Blessed are You, Creator of the Universe,
Who has things such as this in Your world.

There are a few wonderful books about snow that I have found to be interesting and enlightening in my own search for knowledge about this wondrous experience. You might want to share them  with your children:

Snow written and illustrated by Uri Schulevitz. ©1998, Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers.  First a single snowflake falls from the sky, then two, then three.  All the while, a young boy and his dog know it is snowing. The adults, the radio and the television all insist, “No snow.” When all the rooftops are white, the boy and his dog run out to play, while everyone else takes shelter. The illustrations are sublime. Ages 4-8.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Illustrated by Mary Azarian. ©1998, Houghton Mifflin Company. Winner of the Caldecott Medal. The first time a real snowflake – and another and another – landed on my coat and I saw that indeed each one was unique and exquisite, I said the Shehecheyanu Blessing: Thank you God for letting me live to see this moment.  The next thing I did was find a copy of this book.  Wilson Bentley lived his life studying snowflakes.  This beautifully illustrated and marvelously written book explains why. However, if you stand outside during a snowfall and look at the snowflakes that land on your coat, you will understand.  Ages 5-10.

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino with John Nelson, Ph.D. ©2009, Chronicle Books.  This exceptional, award-winning science book explains exactly how snow crystals are made, the different shapes they can grow in (stars, plates and columns) and whether they are truly unique.  There are also tips for catching and studying snow crystals on your own.  The illustrations are mostly photographs of actual snow crystals.  Ages 5-10.

Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart. Illustrated by Constance R. Bergum.  ©2009, Peachtree Publishers.  When I have absolutely reached my limit with winter, wondering what I am doing in the frozen Northeast, I say to my husband, “Animals hibernate in this weather!”  This is exactly the book I need to prove my position. With simple text and gorgeous illustrations, we can see that animals do know how to handle the cold better than we do – they just sleep through it! I particularly love the woodchuck because it “sleeps soundly all winter” getting “all the energy it needs from its thick layer of fat.”  Perhaps I just need to sleep more? Ages 4-9.

Perhaps it is wishful thinking on my part to believe that writing about snow will put an end to the fierce winter we have had so far this year.  A California Girl can hope, can’t she? Nevertheless, if another snowstorm, or two, or…comes our way before winter’s end, I will be prepared with books and blessings.

Happy Readings,

Kathy B.

©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com all rights reserved.
Books used in this review were provided by my local public library.
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