Study Guide

The Snowy Day Quotes

By Ezra Jack Keats

  • Youth

    Illustration: Peter gazing out his window at the snow that fell during the night. (11)

    Peter's expression is a beautiful representation of his youth and inexperience with the snow.

    He walked with his toes pointing out, like this: He walked with his toes pointing in, like that: (14-15)

    Nothing says, "I'm young (or at least young at heart)," like silly-walking through the snow.

    And he found something sticking out of the snow that made a new track. It was a stick. (17-18)

    Kids love sticks. Enough said.

    Down fell the snow—plop!—on top of Peter's head. (20)

    That whole "don't smack a tree full of snow with a stick" lesson is a tough one. At least Peter learned it on his own and not because an older sibling made it all fall on him.

    Illustration: Peter walking away in the snow, leaving a line of footprints behind. (21)

    In his voluminous red snowsuit, Peter is the quintessential youth playing in the snow.

    He thought it would be fun to join the big boys in their snowball fight, but he knew he wasn't old enough—not yet. (23)

    Peter isn't ashamed of his youth, and he's not anxious to grow up. He knows he'll be part of the snowball fights one day, but not until he's ready, and he's okay with that.

    Illustration: Peter in the pink bathtub. (30-31)

    Bubbles, a rubber ducky, and a boat. Why do we give these things up when we get older? That bath looks super-cozy!

    Before he got into bed he looked in his pocket. His pocket was empty. The snowball wasn't there. He felt very sad. (32)

    Just as simple things can make young children very happy, a simple thing like a snowball melting can make them very sad, too. Youth is a time of simplicity, but it's also a time of intense emotions.

    Illustration: Peter admiring the new snow through his window. (34)

    Everyone should get this happy about snow, but sometimes people's ability to find joy in small things fades along with their youth. Thankfully, Peter's still smack dab in the middle of his and the snow has him pretty psyched.

  • Exploration

    After breakfast he put on his snowsuit and ran outside. The snow was piled up very high along the street to make a path for walking. (13)

    The first thing Peter does is observe his surroundings. He's got the makings of a good explorer.

    Crunch, crunch, crunch, his feet sank into the snow. He walked with his toes pointing out, like this: He walked with his toes pointing in, like that: (14-15)

    Peter takes in everything, from the sound his feet make in the snow to the different tracks he can make by changing the way he walks.

    Then he dragged his feet s-l-o-w-l-y to make tracks. And he found something sticking out of the snow that made a new track. (16-17)

    Peter continues to experiment to see what effect his walking patterns—and his stick—will have on the snow.

    Down fell the snow—plop!—on top of Peter's head. (20)

    Yeah, so this experiment kind of backfires. But Peter's exploration of what happens when you smack a snow-covered the tree with a stick has given him valuable information that will likely affect the way he behaves in the future. (We're guessing he won't smack another snow-covered tree…unless someone else is standing under it!)

    He packed it round and firm and put the snowball in his pocket for tomorrow. Then he went into his warm house. (28)

    Snowball in jacket pocket, jacket in warm house. We know how this one's going to turn out before Peter does, and it's a crusher for a little kid who had big plans for that frozen sphere. Exploration doesn't always lead to pleasant discoveries.

    Before he got into bed he looked in his pocket. His pocket was empty. The snowball wasn't there. He felt very sad. (32)

    Peter's had a great day exploring and he's probably pretty tired. We bet that fatigue adds to the disappointment of the melted snowball. Tough way to end the day.

    Illustration: Peter looking excitedly at the fresh snow falling. (34)

    The thing about exploration is that there's always more to do. Peter's disappearing snowball was a downer end to his previous day's exploration, but with a little sleep and some fresh snow, he's ready to head out again—and make a few new discoveries.

  • Awe and Amazement

    Illustration: Peter looking out his window at the snow. (10)

    It's a simple illustration, but the awe and amazement Peter feels for the snow is clear in his expression.

    Illustration: Peter gazing up at the tall snowbanks. (12)

    Peter is so small, and the pile of snow is so big! We remember snowbanks like that. Definitely awe-inspiring.

    Illustration: Peter glancing back at the tracks he's made. (15)

    Snow is pretty amazing. It's a natural canvas for the art Peter makes with his footprints.

    So he made a smiling snowman, and he made angels. (24-25)

    Snow is such a magical substance—it invites people to lie down in it and do reclining jumping jacks in order to make snow angels. And who can resist the urge to build a snowman when the snow is just right?

    He pretended he was a mountain-climber. He climbed up a great big tall heaping mountain of snow—and slid all the way down.

    The giant hills of snow transform the usual landscape of Peter's city, creating mountains, drifts, and giant slides perfect for pretend expeditions.

    He told his mother all about his adventures while she took off his wet socks. (29)

    Peter considers his activities of the day "adventures," and he enjoys telling his mother about them. Even small things like dragging a stick in the snow can become daring escapades when seen with the awe and amazement of a child's eyes.

    And he thought and thought and thought about them. (30)

    Clearly, Peter's day in the snow was a big deal to him. As he warms up in the tub, he keeps thinking about all of the amazing things he saw and did that day.

    But when he woke up his dream was gone. The snow was still everywhere. New snow was falling! (34)

    Aside from when the snow falls on Peter's head (plop!), this is the only exclamation point in the book. It's obvious both from this sentence and from the look on Peter's face in the accompanying illustration that the snow is awe-inspiring.