Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day

Spring 2017 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Amazon Studios
Rating: TV Y

Amazon Prime Video presents this hour-long holiday special based on the beloved children's book by author/illustrator Ezra Jack Keats. The project was produced by Laurence Fishburne, who also narrates and Angela Bassett, Regina King, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler also lend their voice talents. Boyz II Men appear as an animated a cappella group in the story and sing an original song, too.

The Snowy Day debuted in 1962 and according to Keats' unpublished autobiography (portions of which have been excerpted online), he noted that few children's books at that time had African-American protagonists so he created Peter and sent him on a walk through a diverse New York neighborhood, experiencing "the wonderment of a child's first snowfall."

The production value here is as exceptional as the story content. Keats received the 1963 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations of the children's book and this animated adaptation does the illustrations justice with sweet, simple lines in the same soothing palette as the book. Little Peter dons his signature red snowsuit and sets off to visit his Nana after the first big snowfall of the season. He's tasked with picking up Christmas dinner at Nana's house and even though it's only a short walk, the snow and an array of friendly neighbors stretch out the trip. He samples roasted chestnuts and Hanukkah gelt, makes snow angels and snowmen, and learns about different holiday traditions and the spirit of giving from the variety of people he meets along the way. He finally reaches his Nana's house and picks up the dinner - a delicious pan of macaroni and cheese - but he gets waylaid on the way home by an epic snowball battle and dinner and Christmas gifts end up dumped in the snow. Peter is despondent but his mood soon changes because, thanks to the generosity and good cheer of his neighbors and friends, Christmas Eve isn't ruined after all.

With its gentle tone, nod to different cultural traditions, and positive messages about kindness and respect, this is holiday programming at its finest.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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