January 11, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

The Snow Lady

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Shirley Hughes
publisher
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard
genre
Kids and Family, Fiction
We gave it an A

In The Snow Lady, Mrs. Dean, the neighbor who looks after Sam till Sam’s parents get home from work, is a fussy old lady with a neat house. While they don’t exactly hate the woman, Sam and her pals make Mrs. Dean the focus of their resentment of adult authority.

While Mrs. Dean is away visiting relatives for Christmas, Sam and her friend Barney make a ”snow lady” in front of her house and spell out ”Mrs. Mean” in stones next to it. When Mrs. Dean returns unexpectedly in the middle of the night, Sam is frantic. Will Mrs. Dean see the snow lady before Sam can destroy it?

Shirley Hughes is famous for her affectionate, vivacious illustrations of ordinary life. Somehow, she bathes a whole world — people, dogs, houses, and all their casual interactions — in a warm light of acceptance. She’s also blessed with an instinctive understanding of children’s behavior. Sam’s naughtiness is a dead-on depiction of the way normal, alert, decent kids break the rules and then make amends. This is a lovely, funny, understated story of a child’s moral growth. A

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