Disney’s merchandising machine still can’t keep up close to a year after Frozen‘s release, but book publishing seems to be an exception.
Grandma brought over An Amazing Snowman, written by Barbara Jean Hicks and illustrated by Olga T. Mosqueda, for our toddler. It’s a big book with paper pages. Not the sort of thing I’d normally entrust to tiny probing hands, but whatever. What good is manna from heaven if you can’t crumple it up or tear it? Even so, I figured we’d look at it a couple times and then put it up on the high shelf with the other grow into them books.
Someday I’ll learn that the power of this film is enough to meet any challenge. Our toddler respected the book enough to ask that we put the dust jacket away to keep it safe. The pages are intact despite the book never yet resting on a shelf.
The critical data are these. The book takes place after the movie. Olaf has his personal flurry. It has no plot. It’s not so much a story as a fun picture book encouraging Olaf’s open heart and vivid imagination.
I like Olaf, even as I acknowledge his oversaturation due to cross gender appeal. I’m sure they could market Elsa shirts for boys and Kristoff costumes for girls, but I don’t expect they will. So I’m glad the universally appealing character is worth emulating, butt jokes aside.
The illustrations are simple and beautiful. They hooked our toddler in the end leaves with line drawings of Olaf engaging in recognizable activities patterned among dandelions parachute balls. The dandelions are a perfect image to link the summer scenes with winter snowflakes. We spent a couple minutes just talking about what Olaf was doing and what he was playing with. Then we turned the page to this. There was a lot to talk about here, too.
The book mixes up images from the movie with original text and artwork. Pictures cleverly foreshadow and repeat for some surprising moments of recognition. And for dedicated Disney families, there are some references to other films.
Check out the author reading to a group of kids at a Barnes & Noble event: