Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Prairie Boy’s Winter

A Prairie Boy’s Winter

William Kurelek
Picture Book
For ages 10 and up
Tundra Books, 1999   ISBN: 978-0887761027

William his brother and his sister know that winter is coming when they see the crows leaving. The noisy birds will not be back until spring. It is not long after this that William experiences his first snowfall of the season. Though he has seen snow many times, the first snow of the winter is special. With the arrival of winter William and his family have to change their routine. The cows will have to stay in the barn most of the time and William helps his mother feed the pigs their slops. William helps bring in hay from the haystacks and he and his siblings are sometimes called on to catch a chicken which has managed to get out of the coop.

Of course William and his friends also have a wonderful time playing games which they can only enjoy in the winter. There are fierce snowball fights, games of Fox and Geese, ice skating and hockey games, and skiing behind the hayrack.

William and his family also experience the hardship of winter. Watering the cows is a miserable chore for all, including the cows. There is always heavy wood to haul through the snowdrifts, and when a blizzard blows in everyone tries to stay indoors as much as possible.

In this wonderful book the author describes what it was like to spend the winter months on the prairie. His narrative is personal and very immediate, giving the reader a real sense of what it must have been like to experience a prairie winter. Wonderful illustrations capture both the good and the hard times in plenty of detail.