‘Snowzilla’: Quest to build the largest snowman ‘just right’ for winterIt snowed without stopping/for week after week./ When it ended at last,/ Cami Lou took a peek.
By: Jean Patrick, Republic Book Columnist
When I first picked up “Snowzilla,” I expected to read about a new version of the abominable snow man. I was totally wrong.
Snowzilla wears a cheek-to-cheek smile that bears no ill will or teeth. “Snowzilla,” by Janet Lawler, begins with exaggeration.
“It snowed without stopping/for week after week./ When it ended at last,/ Cami Lou took a peek.”
Cami Lou sees nothing but possibilities. Immediately she looks to her family for help, starting with her sibling.
“She bundled and booted/ and zipped up her brother./ “Let’s build a huge snowman/unlike any other.” Mom plows. Dad drives the loader. Before long, they have created the biggest snowman in the world. They’re creative, too. Mittens, gloves and five-point tree branches are used for Snowzilla’s arms and fingers. Thousands of people come to see the giant snowman. But neighbors complain. The view is ruined. Their pets are frightened. To make matters worse, the judge takes their side.
“So Cami used email and texting and blogging/to save all their efforts spent packing and slogging.”
The next day, a man in a truck arrives to offer a solution. Here’s where the story is in danger of faltering. Usually, the mark of a well-written children’s story is that the child is the hero who solves the problem — not an adult rescuer. But “Snowzilla” still succeeds.
When Snowzilla is loaded into the truck with scaffolding, Cami Lou is in the crane’s cab, posing as a junior foreman. When it’s time to figure out where to put Snowzilla, Cami Lou is the one with the brilliant idea.
Amanda Haley’s illustrations reinforce the happy spirit of the tale. Each action-packed spread also challenges viewers to look for Cami Lou’s red three-cornered hat and her ever-faithful dog. Although “Snowzilla” doesn’t have a Christmas theme, it’s just right for the coming days of winter.
“Snowzilla.” By Janet Lawler. Illustrated by Amanda Haley. Amazon Children’s Publishing, 2012. 32 pp.