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When the Snow Is Deeper Than My Boots Are Tall

Find a frosty window. Watch the flakes fall. Look! The snow is deeper than my toes are tall.

With young, rhyming verse and bright illustrations, Jean Reidy and Joey Chou capture the joy and excitement of a big snowfall. As the snow climbs over a boy’s toes, ankles, shins, and boots, there’s more and more fun to be had—snowmen, sledding, snow angels, and, finally, a cup of hot cocoa by a warm fire.

Picture book, Ages 4-8, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Godwin Books
ISBN: 9781250127129, (Hardcover)


“Oh! The thrills—and chills—of the season’s first snowstorm!

A child slips on snow pants, ‘loopty-loops’ a scarf, zips up a jacket, and gets ready to ‘Step! Stamp! Stomp!’ in the snow until it is finally ‘deeper than my boots are tall.’ Oh dear! Luckily, playful parents ‘swoop’ the child out of the deep snow and stay to enjoy family play in the snow. Chou’s blocky, bright illustrations show a peach-complected, brown-haired father, mother, and child against changing snow-blue backgrounds. The child’s pink-and-purple hat, orange scarf, lime-green parka, and pink mittens make for vivid spots of color on the icy pages. A friendly dog and somewhat dubious cat provide additional visual interest. One playmate is a child of color. Although the rhyme and meter aren’t technically perfect, this snow ballad (with repeated and expanding chorus and onomatopoeic exclamations) sings: ‘And my nose drip, drips, / and my wet cheeks freeze, / and the drifts, oh they drift / to the tops of my knees, / and my feet get soaked, / toes one and all, / because the snow is deeper— / it’s really so much deeper— / the snow is deeper than my boots are tall.’ It’s just waiting for a performer and a young audience eager to participate.

This celebration of the first day of snowy play hits the right notes.”


“Candy-bright digital illustrations with a retro-modern flair by Chou match the exuberance of Reidy’s rhyming snow day story. A curly-headed child, ruddy-faced, is excited to go outside and play: ‘Winter’s here at last!/ Gobble down my pancakes./ Getting dressed so fast.’ Repetition (‘Then I roll, roll, roll/ that ball, ball, ball/ and the carrot-nosed man/ grows tall, tall, tall’) and relatable, concrete descriptions (‘But my pinkie’s in my mitten/ where my thumb should go/ and my hat flies off/ when the cold winds blow’) drive the action, which centers on the child playing outside, getting too cold, and then cuddling up with their parents. Though the story devolves into greeting-card sentiment (‘When my heart’s so big…/ I never feel small’), the rising snow is measured with kid-friendly specificity—’deeper than my toes are tall,” “deeper than my ankles are high,’ ‘deeper than my boots are tall’—that is sure to please.”

Publishers Weekly

“This charming story follows a young boy as he wakes up to find the first snowfall of the season. He is excited and immediately prepares for a fun day playing in the snow. The text is written in a fantastic rhyming scheme and rich in figurative language. The illustrations by Joey Chou are vibrant and whimsical.  They beautifully capture the boys’ adventures as he explores his winter wonderland. This is a perfect story to share with younger audiences about the joy of a snow day.”

I Love Picture Books

“This rhyming picture book follows a young child’s first winter foray into the snow, from the first flake falling in the morning to the hot cup of cocoa at the end of the day. There is, of course, the preparation: ‘Slip on my snow pants./Tug on my hat./Loopty-loop my scarf./What’s cozier than that?’ Once outside, snowball fights with friends begin (‘Splet! Splat! Splot!’) along with snowman-making efforts, until ‘my pinkie’s in my mitten/where my thumb should go,/and my hat flies off/when the cold winds blow.’ Mama and Papa cheer the narrator up, though, and some more wintry fun ensues until the fam decides to head on inside for a crackling fire and a nice warm drink. While the rhyme stumbles occasionally, this is still a joyful, rhythmic celebration of the wonders of the season, and inclusion of repetition and onomatopoeia make this an appealing readaloud. Chou’s digital art has a geometric solidity to it, and the scenes are awash in in appropriate tones of blue and white with touches of lavender and pink, adding a bit of frosty dreaminess, while the kiddo’s boldly colorful getup highlights the text’s effusive lightness. Read this before a trek out into the snow drifts or pair it with Bean’s Big Snow (BCCB 11/13) for a cozy cuddle on a chilly evening.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Jean Reidy with illustrations by Joey Chou will have eager readers ready for a romp in the out-of-doors.  There is something special about an unexpected snowstorm.  It’s an open invitation brimming with possibilities.

Jump up in the morning.
Winter’s here at last!
Gobble down my pancakes.
Getting dressed so fast. 

Our happy narrator compares the snow depth throughout the story by his size.  It begins as

deeper than my toes are tall.

Before he gets garbed in his winter gear and sets foot outside, it’s much deeper.  He joyfully leaves prints wherever he goes.  The family cat and dog join in his snowball fight with the neighborhood children and when he makes a snowman.

It keeps on snowing and the wind is still blowing.  A huge gust snatches his hat and now the snow depth matches the book’s title.  This little guy is in need of rescue.

Near but not too near, loving parents pick him up.  The adventuresome boy, dog and cat are carried through the snow until they all take a minute or two or three to leave their shapes in the snow.  A final gaze at a vast starry sky is a prelude to an appreciative snuggle inside by a cozy, crackling fire.

Author Jean Reidy pens a wonderful rhyming story which will have readers clapping and toe-tapping by the second page turn.  Repeating the deeper than phrase but adding to its descriptions asks for reader participation.  Jean Reidy also includes single alliterative action words and the repetition of certain words together to heighten the rhythm.  Here is a passage.

Tracks in the white.

Snowball fight!

Illustrator Joey Chou using hues of blue and purple contrasting with vivid colors in clothing and interior and exterior scenes of the boy’s home manages to portray a winter’s snowy, blowy and chilly day with excellence.  On the front of the dust jacket the boy is gleefully swung between his parents as the family pets watch.  To the left, on the back, we are brought in close, to the boy and his pets engaged in making snow angels as two birds fly over them.  Specific elements are varnished to reflect light on the snow and title text.

On the book case in shades of turquoise as a background with large snowflakes in darker turquoise, white and purple, an interior illustration is featured.  It shows the boy romping in the snow, leaving his footprints and handprints.  He moves from left to right into four different positions before running toward the right-hand corner.

The opening and closing endpapers are covered in a bright orange similar to the boy’s scarf.  The images, rendered by digitally painting in Adobe Photoshop, are all double-page pictures with shifting perspectives to enhance the pacing.  Several times we get a bird’s eye view.  We are brought close to the characters for emotional impact.  Readers will delight in the extra details like the cat and dog paw prints on the frost-covered window pane

One of my many favorite illustrations is of the boy making a snowman.  On the left he is rolling the head toward the two other large snowballs on the right.  His snowball on the left already has eyes, a smiling mouth, a carrot nose and twigs sticking out the top for hair.  The medium snowball has a red bow tie on it.  The cat is peeking out the top.  The largest snowball has yellow boots for feet.  The dog, paws on top, is looking at the cat and his boy and is barking.

To learn more about Jean Reidy and Joey Chou and their other work, please follow the links attached to their names to access their respective websites.  Jean Reidy has accounts on Facebook and Twitter.  Joey Chou has accounts on InstagramTumblr and Twitter.  At the publisher’s website you can view interior images.  The link is attached to their name.”

Librarian's Quest

“What a sweet, adorable little book!  Celebrating both winter and spending time as a family, Reidy and Chou’s book is an attestation to the joys to be found in being together.  With lyrical prose and bright, fun illustrations, this book is sure to entertain and delight, especially by the fire with some hot cocoa!  I’m just delighted at this new trend of both children’s independence but also recognizing the fun that families can have when everyone is together.  Great for kids that love the outdoors and playing in the snow, and perfect for grades K-2!”

Little Lady Librarian
All materials © 2020 Jean Reidy. Author website by Websy Daisy. Shelly the Turtle designed by Genevieve Leloup.