Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Snowman’s Wish

van Straaten, Harmen (Author/Illustrator)
NorthSouth Books 2013. 28 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780735841444 (hardcover)
Original language: Dutch
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

A lonely snowman inside a snow globe is teased by the other toys because of his lowly and forgotten status on the bottom shelf. Upon hearing a hauntingly beautiful song, he wants nothing more than to find the source. A golden angel on the mantelpiece grants his wish to leave his globe—for one hour.

Simple language includes plenty of dialogue: “‘You wished you could leave your globe!’ said a voice across the room. ‘And now you can’ it added.”

The singer is a music box ballerina and once they dance together, the snowman wants to stay with the ballerina forever. When the hour is up, the snowman regretfully returns to his globe, but hesitates, and does not step inside in time. The snowman is trapped outside his globe and starts to melt. But the dancer is also entitled to a wish, and she asks to be with the snowman forever in his globe.

The snowman overcomes the rejection when he finds someone who accepts him as he is. In the face of adversity, the snowman shows perseverance and resilience.

Soft, watercolour illustrations are animated and playful. The forlorn snowman is shown in dim light until he meets the ballerina, when the two bask in a happy, pink glow.

  •  

    Discuss how you feel when you are doing something that you enjoy and someone makes fun of you. Does it affect your feelings about what you are doing?

  •  

    There are many toys in the story apart from the snowman. Read their dialogue out loud, using intonation. What do you notice about what these characters are saying and how they are saying it? What does it tell you about them?

  •  

    Put yourself in the snowman’s shoes and write a letter to the toys to tell them what you heard them say and how it made you feel. Remember to use “I,” as in “I felt really sad.”

  •  

    Imagine you have one hour to have one wish fulfilled. Write about what you would wish for and how, like the snowman, it might change your entire life.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the setting. Start a list of the English names for toys (doll, puppet, snow globe, etc.).

  •  As the story is read aloud, pay attention to the tone used when the various toys are speaking. Choral read some parts of the story.
  •  

    Discuss the characteristics of the snowman and the dancer. How are they similar to or different from other snowmen or dancers that you know? Create character maps for both of them.

  •  

    The other toys make unkind comments about the snowman’s wish. Why should people have dreams or wishes? What are some of your wishes? How might you react when someone is telling you about their wish? Write your own wish list. Add to it as you discover new interests.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture