Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Joy of Snow

It’s really winter now! A couple of days ago we had our first December snow, and my children were unbelievably excited. Rosy cheeks, bright eyes, the whole bit. My son even wrecked my daughter’s snowman with a snowball! Right on target!

If you have some snow to work with, try making one of these snölyktor (snow lanterns). Simply build a dome out of snowballs, leaving an opening through which you can install a votive candle or tea light. Then wait until dusk and behold!

There’s a lovely depiction of a snow lantern in Astrid Lindgren’s Jul i Bullerbyn, illustrated by Ilon Wikland. (The American version is called Christmas in Noisy Village.)

Astrid Lindgren, of course, was one of Sweden’s most beloved children’s authors. She also wrote the Pippi Longstocking books, among many others. She died in 2002 at age 94.

There are a number of books featuring The Children of Noisy Village. In them Lindgren portrays the traditional rural life of Småland, her home-province, and captures brilliantly the simple joys and whimsy of childhood. Last year I read Springtime in Noisy Village to my son’s second-grade class. I was worried that kids accustomed to Star Wars and Sponge Bob Squarepants might find Noisy Village too childlike, but they loved it.

True, it is a cliché, but this is the time of year for everyone to play at being a child again. Now get out there and—oh no! duck! Incoming snowball!