The back cover of this book tells me that “Phoebe Gilman is one of Canada’s best-loved children’s book author/illustrator.” After reading Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, I can see why.
When I read a picture book, I speak out loud, as if I were reading to a child. To do that with this book is a real pleasure. In two-line rhymes, Gilman fairly bounces us through the story of Jillian, excited by the snow but not allowed out until she finds her hat. Her mom says:
“Jillian, Jillian, say it’s not true.
How do you lose all things that you do?”
By the time Jillian finishes her play outside, she is minus her scarf, hat, and both mittens and her friends and her sister have repeated this mantra several times.
The imagination in the snow play is wonderful – the children build Martians and monsters, and roads for Mars. And the issue of lost outerwear is very realistic – a perennial problem with children.
The illustrations, “created in gouche and coloured pencils”, are also excellent – bright and cheerful with just the right amount of detail. I stop and examine the pictures and point out to myself what I would to a child: a small cat in the house scenes, various implements and activities in the outdoor scenes.
I didn’t expect to like this book much, but I did and I highly recommend Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, especially to children who live in snowy climates! 4½ stars
Written and illustrated by: Phoebe Gilman
Published by: North Winds Press 2002
Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow