Snow for Everyone!

NorthSouth. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780735843202.
PreS-Gr 2–German residents Schneider and Chang attempt a kid-friendly parable about Middle East peace in a stilted story about a rare snowfall in Jerusalem. Three children, representing the city’s three major religions, go outside to enjoy the unusual treat. In a belabored spread with graceless visuals, the kids quickly stop playing and begin to argue, drawing borders and shouting about which religion the beauty belongs to. Each child carries snow to their religious leader and all three men (illustrated with delightfully varied beards), remind the children to appreciate the snow, and not claim it. “‘The snow is a mystery,’ says the rabbi./‘A mystery like God himself,’ says the imam. ‘He is there, but you cannot hold him.’/‘If you try to grasp the mystery,’ says the priest, ‘you lose it.’” The analogy falters though, as many Christian, Muslim, and Jewish clergy accept scientific findings and know that snow is not a mystery, however remarkable a gift it may feel. Meanwhile, the snow has melted and the children regret their fight. In a move that will likely not translate to resolving tension in Jerusalem, more snow begins to fall, enough for everyone to play again. A simultaneously immense and delicate subject, religious, political, and racial strife in the Middle East calls for an extremely deft hand. This well-meaning effort offers a clumsy gloss on the fraught topic, complete with camels (which mostly don’t inhabit Jerusalem).
VERDICT A picture book plea for religious coexistence that demonstrates heart, but not enough knowledge or craft.

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