Samson in the Snow

by Philip C Stead (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
One sunny day Samson, a large and friendly woolly mammoth, encounters a little red bird who is looking for yellow flowers for her mouse friend (whose favorite color is yellow). As she flies off with the flowers, Samson wonders what it must be like to have a friend. He wonders this for so long, in fact, that he falls asleep and wakes up to a world covered in snow. In the midst of a blizzard, Samson finds and shelters the little red bird and flower-loving mouse in a tender tale of kindness and unexpected friendship.
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Kirkus Reviews

A story warm in both palette and feeling.

Horn Book Magazine

A comforting tale packed with symbolism and beauty.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Stead (Ideas Are All Around) returns to themes he's made his own: friendship, acceptance, and love for small, ordinary objects that most people overlook. Together, his observations form a gentle theology. Samson is a mammoth who wears an expression of furry concern. He's first seen weeding his dandelion patch. (Aren't dandelions weeds? Not to Samson.) A red bird appears: "Would you mind if I took some flowers for a friend?" the bird asks. "He is having a bad day." Samson hears this wistfully: "He wondered what it would be like to have a friend." When a blizzard descends, Samson thinks immediately of the bird, his concern etched in a wordless vision of the tiny animal sprawled in the snow, and sets out to rescue her. Samson trudges over broad, snowy plains, eventually finding a mouse--the very friend, it emerges, for whom the flowers were intended. Together they find the bird, not a moment too soon. The contrast between the very large and the very small contributes to the story's magic, and so does Samson, a hero who is tender, patient, and loyal. Ages 4-8. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)

Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

K-Gr 2--Samson the woolly mammoth is content with the company of his flowers. When a little red bird flies by, asking for some flowers for a friend whose favorite color is yellow, Samson wonders what having a pal would be like. As summer turns to winter, Samson, concerned about the bird's fate, decides that "it is better to walk than to worry" and sets out to find her. In the meantime he meets a mouse who is also in search of a friend, and together they rescue the bird, who has become trapped in the ice. The storm finally passes as the three newly united creatures trade stories of their adventures. Simple language is suitable for either read-alouds or independent reading. Although some text blocks are within illustrations, most are placed on light backgrounds, making all but one easy to read. As in the best picture books, the narrative is told in words and pictures. Two wordless spreads show the bird's predicament, while a third contrasts these starry white and blue winter scenes with a bright yellow summer one. Pencil-line animals stand out against highly textured backgrounds, and color is essential to the plot, as readers realize that the mouse--whose favorite color is yellow--is the friend for whom the bird originally sought flowers. VERDICT This sweet tale of friendship deserves a place in every collection.--Jill Ratzan, Congregation Kol Emet, Yardley, PA

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Philip C Stead
Erin and Philip C. Stead are an award-winning picture book team. Their book A Sick Day for Amos McGee (400,000 plus copies sold to date) won the Caldecott Medal and was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and a Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Book. Other popular books include Music for Mister Moon, Bear Has a Story to Tell, an E. B White Award Honor Book. Most recently they collaborated with Mark Twain on The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, a major New York Times Bestseller and the recipient of much major media attention including profiles on CBS Sunday Morning and The New Yorker. They live in Michigan.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date
September 20, 2016
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV002040 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Birds
JUV002060 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures
Library of Congress categories
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship
JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Dinosaurs & Preh
JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Birds

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