The Five Best Winter Tales for Children chosen by Jenny Nimmo

Posted on 28th November 2016 by Sally Campbell
Jenny Nimmo's The Snow Spider originally saw print in 1986 and its tale, weaved as it is with ancient folklore and magic, perhaps reflects more than any other the author’s kindred with her beloved Welsh landscape. On its 30th Anniversary, it has been our pleasure to present Nimmo’s award-winning tale to a new generation of readers as our November Children's Book of the Month and perhaps reconnect those who fell for her myth-based magic in the first instance. Fittingly for such a wintery tale, Jenny has given us an insight on her five favourite snowy tales.

1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis

Lucy’s first cautious steps through the wardrobe, feeling fir trees instead of coats, and snow she thought was mothballs. My favourite introduction to ‘other worlds’.

2. Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson

Who could not love Moomintroll. To me Tove Jansson is at her best when illustrating a snowy Moomin landscape.

3. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

What an exciting concept. Set in a non-existent 1832 Joan Aiken depicts a winter so harsh that rivers freeze all the way to the sea, and desperately hungry wolves travel to England through the Channel Tunnel, all adding to the troubles of two very different girls.


4. A Winter Bear by Ruth Craft and Erik Blegvad

This is a poem, and great to read aloud. Three children take a walk through wild winter fields as it begins to snow. They find a woollen bear, high in a tree, and have to get it home. The children remind me so much of my own, thirty years ago, I feel the illustrator must have known them. [Sadly A Winter Bear has been out of print for some time. You can find a tribute to Erik Blegvad and his art in this 2015 article from Print magazine]


5. Bear and Bird by Gwen Millward

A heartwarming story of friendship and bravery, with beautiful, snowy illustrations. Bear does all the work while Bird sings, but one snowy day, Bear goes missing.



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