Monday 12 December 2011

Picture Books Which Changed the World ...The Snowman

Number 5: THE SNOWMAN by Raymond Briggs

Ah, there you are book sniffers come on in and pull up a pouf by the fire side.

I have dilly dallied for quite long enough and have finally donned the cosiest of elfin slippers, bells included of course (yes they do come in pug size!) and I find that getting the attention of the *pun alert* bone idle Cat is ever so much easier when you have tantalising bells upon your toes!

Nursed lovingly in front of me (aside from a large schooner of sherry) is a slightly *pun alert* dog eared copy of one of my all time favourites. In fact, if I cast my mind back I’m almost certain this particular gem was a gift from good old Father Christmas himself.

It is none other than the legendary and unforgettable The Snowman, penned and imagined by the genius that is Raymond Briggs.

The Snowman, published by Puffin, is a simple wordless-wondrous-winter tale about the relationship between a young boy James and the snowman he builds one wintry day.

James awakes at midnight and goes to his bedroom window to admire on his creation, only to discover that the Snowman has magically come to life. When the two meet, an enchanting friendship begins and sparks a fantastic and utterly believable tale of discovery and adventure. Interestingly considering it's status as an absolute Christmas essential, the book contains no references to Christmas itself not even a Christmas tree.

Briggs was born in 1934 and had an impressive art school education behind him before he began writing and illustrating. With many notable children's books now under his belt he has become a force to be reckoned with. He created The Snowman in 1978 in his now instantly identifiable pencil crayon style and it has arguably become one of the most famous of yuletide picture books of all time, having captured the imagination of millions of children the world over. Other notable publications include Father Christmas and the delightfully gruesome Fungus The Bogeyman.

The Snowman was produced as an animated film in 1982 and is now perhaps more widely known than the book itself. Those of you old enough to appreciate high culture may even remember a rather special cameo appearance by The legend that is David Bowie - 

The animated feature differs from the book in that James and the Snowman travel to the to the north pole to meet a rather rotund and jolly Farther Christmas just in time for a magical snowman party with snowy people from all over the world. The ending is what must be one of the biggest tear jerkers in children's literature however I firmly choose to believe that The Snowman, far from melting away in fact went back to the party to help Father Christmas with the washing up! The jury is out on that one.

Now I've taken a cautionary peep beyond the curtain and I am delighted to say that we have been blessed with snow for the oncoming festive season. So coiffure your David Bowie quiff, wrap up in your Christmas scarf and get your wellies on – there's fun to be had out there, and who knows , maybe you'll make a special snowman too.

Merry Christmas Book Sniffers! - Look out for the Pugs *queens* Speech coming soon!

Images (c) Raymond Briggs

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.