The thing that always surprises me about the first real snow is how quiet the outside world becomes. Even though it is the same feeling of surprise each year, I never quite get over it. And I suppose that there is some physics-based explaination that includes sound waves and what not, but I'm not really interested in all that. To me, it just seems like magic.
Which brings me right along to our Library Monday title for today: Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time by James Howe. Mariam and I both wholeheartedly loved this book from the very first read, and we have read it over and over again each winter since then. Sometimes in the summer too.
Ostensibly a somewhat funny story about two snowbound friends and their need to get to an evening concert on time, Houndsley and Catina is really quite a bit more than just that. It is also a story about finding the beauty in the stillness of winter, about the slowing down of the world outside and about the good that it does for us when we slow down a bit too. Plus, the book has wonderfully expressive illustrations by Marie-Louise Gay that really bring the characters off the page and add subtle details that allow the book to be enjoyed again and again.
And, I do have to make a special mention of the ending to this story. The concert scene that finally does take place at the ending of this book is perfectly written, and in some ways, the entire meaning of the story shifts when you read it. It isn't overly sweet and doesn't take itself too seriously, and yet, it is thoughtful and has just the right amount of depth. It leaves you feeling as though you have happened upon the quiet time yourself.
A couple of other notes on this snowy Monday:
:: Patricia's new book is here! If you are hoping to raise a writer, you absolutely need a copy of Patricia's book. I had a chance to read a review copy and as a writer, a teacher, and a parent, I can say with complete confidence that it is truly fantastic. And so practical. I love practical. We will be talking more about this soon!
:: There are just a few hours left to purchase the e-book bundle! It disappears from the landscape of the interwebs at midnight GMT, which is 7 p.m. East Coast time. Which is soon. You can download it here.
:: Imagination, creativity and inspiration are on sale today in honor of this Cyber Monday nonsense! Enter "monday" at checkout for 25% off issues of Alphabet Glue. Today only (expires at midnight Eastern time)!