Puffin Books. First published 2014.
Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobb
“It’s Snow Day” is an enchanting tale about the thawing relationship between a frosty old teacher and his nemesis pupil on a snowy day at school.
Just one pupil, Danny Higgins, and one teacher, Mr Higgins, turn up for school on the snowiest day of the year.
Early on readers are informed the pair are “ENEMIES.”
“Mr Trapper was the strictest teacher in the school. And Danny was the WORST student in the country. Well, maybe not the actual worst. But very near the bottom of the bottom of the list.”
Despite their initial misgivings about having to spend the day in one another’s company, slowly the pair begin to have fun, starting when Mr Trapper gives Danny a sage tip about snowman building.
The illustrations enhance the timeless charm of the prose with an innocence and joie de vivre that will keep readers coming back for more.
During games, Danny and Trapper are seen ice-skating on books “with the help of Roald Dahl, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.”
Later, they are seen launching themselves off the classroom roof using “Mrs Chattington’s incredibly useful one metre rulers” which they use as skis.
At 1,087 words, “It’s Snow Day” is a heart-warming tale, ideally suited to five and six-year-olds due to its length, which is slightly longer than most picture books.
Curtis (Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Love Actually) can really write, unlike some celebrities who capitalise on their fame to sell mediocre, lack-lustre books (David Walliams excepted!)
The story tackles the theme of loneliness, as it transpires “Danny’s Dad was a really busy man – and hardly ever played with him or asked him any questions at all. Mr Trapper’s Dad had been exactly the same, and Mr Trapper never had any kids of his own.
“So when the end of the day came and they set off home, they both knew it had actually been one of the best days of their lives. Though, of course, they didn’t tell each other that.”
My six-year-old, husband and I all enjoyed this gentle book, which ends with a fantastic double page igloo spread of Higgins and Trapper having fun the following year at school on Snow Day 2, when no one attends, apart from them.
It’s a sure-fire winner in our household and has ‘classic-of-the-future’ written all over it.