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Grandmother Winter

Press:Houghton Mifflin HMH Books for Young Readers (November 1, 2004)
Author Name:Root, Phyllis/ Krommes, Beth (ILT)


Grandmother Winter lives all alone with her snow-white flock of geese. 
All through the spring, summer, and fall, Grandmother Winter tends her geese and gathers their feathers.
Why? To bring snowfall as soft as feathers and bright as a winter moon.
To the woodland and all of its creatures, the arrival of winter is a gift.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2 Impressive scratchboard-and-watercolor illustrations highlight a fanciful tale regarding the origin of snow, based on a character from German folklore. 
Grandmother Winter herds her flock of snow-white geese in spring, gathers their feathers in summer, and, in the fall, stuffs her homemade quilt with their milky down.
When she shakes the fluffy quilt, snow falls gently, creating a winter wonderland for people and a warm blanket under which various animals and insects sleep.
From the stylized Jacobean flowers, the folk-art suns, and each unique snowflake, Krommes's expressive pictures successfully convey the actions and reactions of all living things affected by the snow.
Poetic language and detailed art blend to create a whimsical delight.
Maryann H.
Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Root (Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones, 1998, etc.) presents Winter as a motherly old woman gathering up goose feathers during spring and summer, then making a white quilt that she shakes out, covering the land with snow. 
The text's quiet rhythms find perfect resonance in the crisp, idyllic colored scratchboard country scenes.
It's a strong picture book debut for Krommes, and readers who place this plump, smiling farm wife next to the crusty geezer in Stephen Gammell's Is That You, Winter? (1997) will find the contrast of personalities amusing.
(Picture book.
6-7) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"The text's quiet rhythms find perfect resonance in the crisp, idyllic colored scratchboard country scenes. 
It's a strong picture book debut for Krommes." Kirkus ReviewsGrandmother Winter keeps snow-white geese.
During the spring and summer, she collects the feathers released by their flapping wings; come autumn, she stitches the feathers into a lovely white quilt.
When she shakes it, snowflakes fall cold from the sky, signaling the beginning of winter.
Once the animals (and children) have made ready-snakes coiled in old woodchuck holes, hares in their coats of white, chickadees fluffed up against the cold-Grandmother herself, surrounded by her drowsy geese, snuggles under the quilt to sleep until spring.
Root's cadenced text, lyrical and sweet, is nicely matched by Beth Krommes's debut illustrations.
Her handsome stylized art, rendered in scratchboard and watercolor, depicts round, motherly forms embellished with figures referring to snow-six-pointed flakes, patterns like frost on a window, the flowing curves of a drift.
The many creatures preparing for winter -- bats, worms, frogs, fish, bears, and so on -- are carefully observed as well as decorative.
Horn Book

About the Author

Phyllis Root says this story was inspired by her childhood memories of Mother Holle, a character in German fairy tales. 
She lives in snowy Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Children's Books,Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     This book was a gift to my son and a very special surprise. The story line is very unique and the illustrations are truly beautiful -- they are unlike any I have seen in other children's books. I plan on purchasing this book for all of my nieces and nephews. This book would be a very special addition to any child's library.

  •     I loved sharing this story with my granddaughter. She is 7 and she loved the story of the birds feathers being the snow.

  •     Every picture in this book is a delight, speading across each pair of facing pages, and the story is written in a quiet, loving tone that instantly makes the reader at home. In this day of instant everything, I particularly appreciate the message that great things take time. Wise Grandmother uses the entirety of the 3 other seasons to prepare for her winter. I really enjoyed the comfortable and informative way the story invites the reader to experience how many living things react to winter. Birds fluff, worms tunnel, adults prepare and children wonder.I agree with all of the other reviews about this book, I just don't want potential buyers to feel that one has to subscribe to a purely nature based philospohy or belief system to enjoy this book. It is charming regardless of which (if any) winter holidays your family celebrates.

  •     We had borrowed this from the Library and decided we needed our own copy! One of our favorite winter themed books!

  •     We love this story. It's my kids' new winter favorite.

  •     The story is one of Grandmother who brings on winter with her quilt, and all the typical winter things unfold, bear goes to cave, earthworms borrow down, etc.

  •     I was delighted to find this picure book rendition of the German legend of Mother Holle. It's about time we re-introduce a female role model into out winter mythology, instead of...

  •     I'm surprised that there are no reviews for this lovely book although it has been included in many listmania lists about winter. Yesterday we took a Nature walk and my daughter found a white feather lying on the ground. When we got home and put it on our Nature table, I remembered that I had this book and we read it together; it turned out to be the perfect complement. Grandmother Winter collects feathers all throughout the Spring and Summer from her flock of geese. In Autumn, she stitches together a quilt and stuffs it with the soft feathers. The arrival of the first snow means that Grandmother Winter has shaken her quilt over the world from high in the sky and then she goes to sleep and rests through the Winter. Many other animals also take shelter for the Winter -- this book talks about frogs, fish, bears, earthworms, butterflies and many other animals (including, of course, Grandmother Winter's geese) and how they make it through the Winter. This book is a perfect blend of storytelling and natural history and I would recommend it to any family watching the seasons change.

  •     Grandmother Winter - prepares for winter by caring for her geese and sewing her quilt of feathers. People prepare for winter by pilling their woodpiles high and searching out their warm clothing and skis. The animals also prepare. This book shows Grandmother Winter through the seasons and how her actions bring winter to us all. While listening to the story my 5-year-old said, "She is like Mother Holle." (from another story). Though I didn't see the similarities the back flap mentions that Phyllis Root was inspired by Mother Holle (A character in German Fairy Tales) when writing this tale. My daughters enjoy this story. It is a wonderful book.

  •     I love this delightful tale of Grandmother Winter collecting feathers from her flock of geese, stitching a quilt and shaking it out to create the snowflakes as assorted creatures prepare for winter and then she too snuggles down into her own down quilted bed for her long winter sleep.

  •     As a person who prefers to celebrate solstice and the wheel of the year instead of Christmas commercialism, this book charmed me immediately. It helps us to remember that winter is a time of rest and introspection and that the wheel of the year turns and turns, time is circular, not linear. Love it! The nature references help us to remember that we are not alone on this planet and that there were beings living with the 4 seasons long before indoor heat and thermal underwear.

  •     Our favorite book about the Goddess Holda, under her pseudonym Grandmother Winter. She herds her geese and makes a feather bed from it. Then she shakes it and it snows. The illustrations are amazingly gorgeous!

  •     I grabbed this book from the library because I was instantly drawn to the illustration on the cover. Much to my delight, the entire book is just as beautiful. Root's story is a wonderful retelling of a folktale about how winter comes each year. Grandmother Winter makes a quilt from fallen goose feathers. When she shakes the quilt, the feathers turn to snow, covering the world in a layer of white. Root's prose is as lovely as the illustrations by Beth Krommes. I plan to read this at least a few more times before we have to return it to the library.

  •     Wonderfully written and illustrated. Both Children love their books.


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