February 7, 2012

The Snow Country Prince

Sometimes it’s all about the art. I can’t even state accurately what goes on in ‘The Snow Country Prince’ by Daisaku Ikeda and  Brian Wildsmith, but I want to stare at the pictures all day long. I’d love to rip out the pages and frame them, but yes, I do remember that destroying a library book is wrong. This one is actually kinda sad, about two children whose father gets sick and has to go to the hospital, and then the mom also takes off to go see what’s up with the dad, and HEY! WHO IS WATCHING THE KIDS??? A swan apparently. But he’s not really a swan, because he’s really the Snow Country Prince, but then eventually he takes off too, and the kids are just super flipped out but then the parents come back.


I was kind of surprised by the level of downer in this little book “First Papa…then Mama…and now our swan has gone away! Oh how lonely winter is!”

BUT. . . .

The art is sublime. And really, have y’all read ‘The Little Match Girl’? Or the ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’? Now THOSE are some downer stories, big time!

So. Don’t be sad. All is well in Snow Country Prince Land. And does he not have the COOLEST clothes ever? And he flies! This book kinda blew my mind.


  1. Is it a Japanese book? Not that "my neighbor Totoro" was a downer, but what was a the sick mom stuff about?

  2. You know, the kids have Japanese sounding names, but as you can see, they all appear Caucasian and blondish. It's written by an Japanese person but illustrated by not a Japanese person. So who knows??

    Yeah, Totoro. Julia first saw that when she was a young 4. I was worried the sick mom thing would flip her out but I don't think she even noticed. And she doesn't mention it when she watches it now. I was so worried that the mom would....depart, but happily she does not!! :)

  3. sometimes when I would be reading books to my older 2 kids when they were little, I would be like "what??? how can this be a kids book?? and why is it ok to be such a downwer in kids books? I don't remember these books being so dark when I was a kid!!"
    now with my youngest i always have a quick read of something myself before i start reading to her, just in case. Not that I'm saying it's not OK to have sad/awful things happen in kids books, its just I guess good to be prepared

  4. You know what's funny? When I was young, I was REALLY into fairy tales. I read them ALL. And if you go back as an adult and re-read them, it is AMAZING the violence and darkness in them. I mean, look at 'Hansel & Gretel'! Never bothered me two hoots as a kiddo.

    There's been a lot of excellent work done about the emotional catharsis that occurs for children as they read fairy tales. (Bruno Bettelheim's 'The Uses of Enchantment', look him up.)

  5. I like you so much... I'm so glad you have a blog and that I read it. your posts really please my sense of humor and I don't know, I just like you.

  6. Aw Miss Robyn, you just put a BIG smile on my face! I like you too girlfriend :) I think I wrote this post before we found each other's blogs -- the formatting is bit strange, it got messed up in the redesign and I'm too lazy too un-mess it up, but you'll appreciate it:


    You had it on a recent post as well! :)

  7. Or to make life easier, got to Nov 2011. The post is in there. If you like my brand of weirdness, someday I'll get Andrew to contribute more to the blog, or create his own -- he's so funny I cry with laughter...and have a hard time controlling my bladder...:)

  8. When I can't get over the art and I want just stare at it all day but I don't want to explain things like where mommy and daddy are (though at least these kids have a swan which is more than I can say for Max and Ruby most of the time) then I just make up my own words-- which is great as long as I can remember what I made up when I have to re-read it.

    Also, love the commentary here! And, realistically, a swan that is also a prince would probably provide excellent and very entertaining childcare-- maybe clip it's wings first though?

  9. Oh, PS-- we did see the I like you post-- when I saw you posted that I was like-- 'Robyn!! Look what she posted about!' That book has a special place in our hearts.


  11. Oh Brian Wildsmith, how i love him.

  12. Such beautiful and unique work he does.....