Over the past few weeks, kids and families across the country have experienced their first snowfall of the year. While we were sledding, donning snowsuits, building snowmen, and sipping hot chocolate, we were reminded of one of our favorite picture books about playing in the snow: Ezra Jack Keats’s The Snowy Day.
The Snowy Day is the story of Peter, a young boy living in the city, who wakes up to find snow covering EVERYTHING. Soon, he’s out of his “jammies” and out in the wide world all by himself. He knocks the snow from trees, makes snow angels, and climbs a hill pretending to be a “mountain climber.” After a long day of exploring, Peter returns home to his mom, a hot bath, and a good night’s sleep. What can marketers and content creators learn from this simple but elegant story?
- The simplest pleasures can be the most fun. In The Snowy Day, something as simple as your feet provides a wealth of possibilities. Peter walks through the snow with his toes pointed out, and then in. He then drags his feet to create long, unbroken lines in the snow. An average stick becomes a toy for Peter and he’s able to reach up higher than he normally could and smack the snow off a tree. And that’s all Peter needs to do before moving on to his next adventure. The simple act of sliding down a hill is so much fun, Peter does it repeatedly. It’s easy to think that today’s youth are too jaded to enjoy the “basics.” But one snowfall shows that there are plenty of young-at-heart activities that attract kids, tweens and even teens and their parents!
- Being alone can be fun too. In a world in which everything is social, remember that on occasion, kids want and need time to themselves. Without any adults around, Peter is in control of his day. He revels in recounting his tale to his mother, but he had almost every adventure on his own. It isn’t until the final page of the book that we see him with a friend. Once he’s mastered his environment, he’s ready to bring a playmate along for the ride.
- The outdoors can still be magical to kids. For Peter, the city is a playground. He never stays in one spot for too long. He wanders through city streets, past buildings and street lamps. But no matter what city elements are around him, Peter always turns to the snow. The snow gives him something to walk on, something to slide on, something to build with, and something to create with. Just before returning home, Peter creates a snowball and puts it in his coat pocket “for tomorrow.” Peter wants to bring the snow home and inside with him. Like, arguably, the other greatest children’s book of the past century, Where the Wild Things Are, the hero is alone in the “wild,” both making it his own and showing how at home he feels within it.
No snow where you are? Try out “snow wonder” - we double-dog dare you. And please let us know what you think!