Reviews for Snowmen at Work

BookPage Reviews 2013 January
Stories to warm winter's chill

January is the month for snow and cold and ice. Whether you live with snowy weather, or wish you did, pour a mug of cocoa and share these three picture books with your favorite little snowman.


Husband and wife team Caralyn and Mark Buehner have come up with an intriguing idea in Snowmen at Work, the fourth book in their popular Snowmen series. What if snowmen had actual jobs as dentists, mechanics, grocers and the like? Sparkling oil-and-acrylic paintings pop with energy and allow the Buehners to create warm and humorous scenes on every page. Each spread includes four hidden characters—cat, mouse, T. rex and rabbit—adding to the fun. Readers will have to slow down to find these little critters, but the search will allow them time to appreciate the charms of each detailed illustration.


Bunnies on Ice is Johanna Wright’s tribute to ice skaters of all levels. Reminding us that, as in many life events, “you have to wait for the conditions to be just right,” Wright takes us through spring planting, summer swimming and harvest. This trip through the seasons allows the reader and lap-listener to slow down and enjoy the journey. Wright’s gentle acrylic-and-ink illustrations, in her signature naïve style, are filled with details that amuse both the eye and the heart. The members of the bunny family enjoy one another as they celebrate life together—gardening, swimming, raking, cooking, building a scarecrow, making music and, at last, skating. I always want to join the families that Wright constructs, especially if it means I could bundle up and skate on a frozen lake.


The town of Toby Mills is cold. Very cold. After a few days of sub-freezing weather, the local paper declares what the townspeople already know: It’s a cold snap! Veterans Eileen Spinelli and Marjorie Priceman team up in Cold Snap, a brisk tale of one town as it handles a long period of cold weather. A statue of the town founder is at the center of the story. Actually, his nose is at the center of the story. The icicle that slowly grows from it is an unusual calendar of cold, but a humorous one that serves as a wonderful anchor for the story. Illustrations, in vivid, mostly primary-colored gouache, highlight a week of bone-chilling cold, but also show how warm a community can be. Millie and Chip throw snowballs, kids race down T-Bone Hill on their toboggans and skis, townspeople warm themselves in the diner, knitters create warm hats, and ice skaters race around the pond. As the week unfolds, the townspeople get colder and colder, shivering in their church pews, getting stuck inside frozen train doors, and suffering with broken furnaces. Priceman’s breezy style, all movement and energy, is a perfect fit with Spinelli’s staccato, happening text. Readers will want to stay in Toby Mills longer than the week—maybe long enough to enjoy some sugar-on-snow.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
When he wakes up to find his sidewalk shoveled, a young boy wonders if his snowman is responsible. He begins to contemplate all the jobs snow-folk might have. The clever rhyming text and cheeky illustrations add to this story's lighthearted appeal. Hidden images in each double-page spread painting are challenging and frustrating; the answers are on the back of the book jacket.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #1
The Buehners continue their snowmen-come-to-life shtick with this look at occupations. A boy who made a snowman the night before awakens to find new snow on the ground but already-cleared walkways--by his snowman? "Was he the one who shoveled, with a snowman shoveling crew? / Could it be I just don't see that snowmen have jobs too?" Caralyn Buehner's rhyming verses then lead readers in an imaginative tour of other jobs snowmen might have: mechanic (for sleds), grocer, baker, magician, firefighter, "pizza man," factory worker and truck driver. Each work scene is filled with familiar occupational details, like the clip that attaches the dentist's cloth around patients' necks and the decorations that adorn the classroom--it's just the characters that seem out of place to 98.6-degree readers. Especially fun is the pet store, where all the animals are made of snow: a snow rabbit with carrot ears, a snow monkey swinging from the lights and "coldfish" in a tank. Hat, mitten and scarf styles add personality to the characters--don't miss the librarian's and teacher's. A seek-and-find element adds to the fun of poring over the pages--a cat, rabbit, T-rex and mouse are hidden in each painting. Fans and those looking for books about occupations may find themselves looking askance at every snowman they see. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #3

In the Buehners' fourth snowmen book, a boy contemplates what jobs snowmen might perform. A snowman dentist "might drill bits of coal/ To fix a snowman's smile"; others work as sled mechanics, librarians, and frozen pizza delivery men. Mark Buehner's inviting paintings contrast the icy characters with cozy indoor scenes. Though the story ends on a flat note, the abundantly silly details should spur readers' imaginations, and images hidden in each spread invite close study. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

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