Book review: Katy and the Big Snow

By Kayla Rochelle February 7, 2024

Recommended for Preschool to 3rd Graders

One of my favorite books growing up was ‘Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel’ so when I spotted ‘Katy and the Big Snow’ by Virginia Lee Burton on the shelf at our local library, I recognized the artwork from the same author immediately. Caldecott Medal-winning author Virginia Lee Burton writes stories that give human emotions to inanimate objects and tells their stories with amazing attention to illustrative detail. The artwork feels 1940’s, but the story is relevant for today. Katy is a big tractor who doesn’t get a chance to help with the snow because she’s just too big of a snow shovel for the little storms the town normally gets. But when a big snowstorm arrives Katy has her chance to help the town’s residents. 

This story has a hint of ‘The Little Engine that Could with a lesson in endurance but I loved that as the reader sees each citizen in need the opportunity for discussion arrives about the importance of firefighters, the electric company and doctors in keeping a town running. As Katy receives calls for help, she heads in all directions of the town as needed, north, south, east and west. We read this story before every snow storm and my daughter gets so excited knowing the plows in our town will soon be coming to help us all out too. 

Typically, the character of construction equipment is assigned a male gender, so Burton’s choice to make this snow plow a girl helps to subtly send the message that there is no such thing as ‘boy’ jobs or ‘girl’ jobs, and instead there are jobs that anyone can do if they work hard enough. In fact, Katy barely breaks a sweat as she rescues the town and that is a female character I can certainly get behind. 

Kayla is a wife, mother and beach-loving book reader. She's a family photographer over at Kayla Rochelle Photography, and organizer of the Facebook group, Little One’s Literary Review. Her love of good books started as a child and only grew with the birth of her own daughters. Kayla's got an undying love of children's books with gorgeous illustrations and moral lessons. 

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