The House in the Snow
When my brother and I were small, we used to say, “Let’s make up Make-Up Stories,” and entertain ourselves for hours with creating impromptu adventure tales, usually featuring ourselves. When my two sons were small, they used to say, “Let’s play Oh-Well-So-Then,” and entertain themselves the same way. In these joint storytelling sessions there are always times when both kids fall silent, thinking about how to get out of whatever narrative corner they’ve painted themselves into. After such a pause, one of my boys would shake himself and begin, “Oh well, so then Tom jumped into his spaceship…” or “Oh well, so then the dragon stuck its head in the igloo…” or whatever. Hence their name for the game.
I listened with joy to these tales. One that stuck in my mind was about a house full of vicious robbers in a snowy forest, and the heroic boys who fought them. Years later, when neither my sons nor I remembered the details of their original story, I wrote it as The House in the Snow. Kids from fourth grade to junior high have written to thank me for it. The illustrations by Leslie Bowman are perfect – exactly as I pictured the setting, characters, and action. They’ll also warn you off in case you consider it too violent for your little angels. I like to think it’s about good things like friendship, courage, perseverance, and figuring out solutions to tough problems.