Pros:Beautiful, breathtaking pictures. Heartwarming and amazing poetic story.
The Bottom Line: The true meaning of the Christmas and winter season is brought out in a book with beautiful pictures by Susan Jeffers and the amazing poetic words of Robert Frost.
With thoughts of winter still in most minds, this book brings out the season and imagination in all of us. Robert Frost tells us of a winter wonderland visited through the eyes of a man and his horse.
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Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening is a delightful picture book that was sent to my daughter through a book club that I subscribe to for her. She’s had it for a few months, but still loves to hear me read it to her over and over again. A story through a poem is one that captures my daughter’s interest and keeps it. She loves to make sense of the words and draw her own conclusions.
The charming book starts out with an older man in his horse driven buggy going through a snowy forest. He tells us that he thinks he knows who owns those woods but his house is in the village.
“Whose woods these are I think I know:”
On this page you see a wintery woodland and the man in the buggy. While the trees and horse and buggy are in black and white, the mans jacket and scarf are in full color...making him stand out on the page. Turn the page...
“His house is in the village though;”
The scenes in the village are marvelous with only a small number of houses in color and only a door in color on a pair of others.
The white bearded man tells us He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.” "My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near". We see him playing in the snow, making snow angels and sledding down a snowy slope. We see animals rushing out of the way, but all along we see the cheerful old man having a great deal of fun. On these pages we watch as the man plays and watches nature and in between the snowy branches, if you pay attention to great detail, you can see the forest animals hidden in trees and branches throughout the area.
"Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year."
Next we see the old man reaching into the back of his horse driven carriage as if he is searching for something important. The back of the carriage is filled but covered in a green afghan as to keep the whole thing a secret.
The horse is still unsure, so "He gives his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake." The man with the white beard and red and black flannel jacket is now carrying what seems to be a bag for a seeds.
“The only other sound’s the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.”
We see the old man enjoying the winter wonderland of snow covered trees and the amazement of the magnificent snowflakes. He stands and stares at the wonderland taking it all in, knowing that he has to be on his way, and very soon.
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,"
As you turn the next few pages, you see the seeds spread out upon the ground and the delighted man getting his horse ready to move on. He wraps the horse in what seems to be a warm blanket and heads back to town. He tells us of how much he enjoys those woods, “but I have promises to keep...“. He is soon back in a village and hugging what seems to be his wife, while children feed the horse some hay for extra energy for the long trip. You soon realize that he is saying goodbye to what seems to be his family.
"And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep."
The last few pages show the man leaving with his horse. The animals are nibbling the seeds, the snow is still falling and Santa is on his way to make his rounds on the darkest night of the season.
This book is written with the poetic style and grace that only Robert Frost can bring us and yet beautifully illustrated by Susan Jeffers. Each page tells a different story and makes us wonder if this white bearded man is indeed Santa. In the end there is no mistaking that he is. And when your child realizes this, her eyes will open in wonder and amazement when she realizes that Santa not only brings children something for Christmas, but also takes care of the hungry animals in the snow covered forest.
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