The Most Perfect Snowman
Balzer & Bray, 2016
32pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99
Built in the first flurry of winter snow, Drift was the loneliest of snowmen. With his stick arms, small mouth and coal eyes he stood forlorn and forgotten amongst the bare winter trees. He dreamed of having a smart scarf, warm gloves and a long orange carrot nose like the other snowmen so he could join in their banter, their fashion parades, snowball fights and other fun stuff. But he was too plain and different to be included, so his days were spent swooshing and sliding through the woods, stopping and standing in the shadows to watch the others at play.
Then one day some children gave Drift all that he wanted – a fluffy blue hat, warm mittens, a soft scarf and even a long orange carrot nose. Suddenly the other snowmen found him acceptable now that he had his new accessories and watched as he played all afternoon with his new friends. But that night a blizzard blew and Drift lost his smart new clothes and no matter how hard he looked, he couldn’t find them. All he had left were his scarf and his long orange carrot nose. Then he heard a tiny voice – a little bunny was lost in the snow, frightened and shivery cold. Drift knows he can save the bunny by wrapping it in his soft scarf and giving it his long orange carrot nose but can he bear to part with them? Can he go back to being that plain snowman with skinny stick eyes, a small nose and coal eyes?
As winter begins to grip southern Australia and some parts are seeing early snowfalls, this is a charming story about what it means to be “perfect” and whether it is about looking a particular way or having the right things or whether it runs deeper than that. What is the meaning of the old adage “Clothes maketh the man” and is it true? Are we more visible and therefore perhaps more powerful because of our external appearance?
It also raises the concepts of selfishness and selflessness and whether even giving just a little can make any difference. Do we need to be applauded and rewarded for doing something kind or should it be enough to within that we have made a difference? Do we have to be the person giving the boldest and brightest present at birthday parties or is it the phone call saying thank you afterwards that is most remembered?
The soft palette echo the gentleness of both the story and its message but this is more than just a story to welcome winter.