27. Februar 2024

A Snowman on a motor-bike, from 1982

© Brenda Nally / Pinterest
Lesedauer ca. 4 Minuten

“In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter,
Long ago.”
Christina Rossetti

‘The Snowman’ (1982) by Raymond Briggs is a classic children’s book. It is the charming, moving
story of a little boy called James, who builds a snowman. That night, his snowman comes alive, and
they become friends. The snowman takes James on a magical journey through the air, across the
world to an unforgettable party….

© Book cover / Ladybird

“It was morning. James opened his eyes, and saw the bright, white light coming through the window.
He knew it would be a magical day….it was snowing! He dressed quickly….hardly time for breakfast.
At last he was outside, making giant footprints in the snow, and throwing snowballs. He began to roll
a huge snowball, and suddenly had an idea. The best thing to do would be to make a snowman.
A big, big body. A quick lunch – no time to stop! A big round head. Stones as eyes, an orange nose, a
hat and scarf and last of all ….. James drew a mouth with his finger. His snowman was finished. The
snowman was smiling!
Soon it was time for bed….but it’s hard to sleep when you’re thinking of a snowman outside, all
alone. James got up and went out into the night. The day had been special…. but this was magical.
The snowman waves, raised his hat, and walked towards the house. Jemes took the snowman’s hand
and they went indoors.
Ordinary snowmen never go inside a house, but this snowman wanted to see everything. The fridge
was best – kit was cold, just how snowmen like it! Upstairs, Mum and Dad were fast asleep. The
snowman tried everything – including Mum’s perfume, which nearly made him …. sneeze!
The snowman danced to a music box and played with James’s toys. Mum and Dad didn’t wake up.
Back outside, they rode through the fields and forests on Dad’s old motorbike…. But the snowman
needed to be cold and the motorbike made his legs very hot. So James took the snowman to the big
freezer and soon …. the snowman’s legs were OK again.
Then suddenly the snowman stopped smiling and listened. What could he hear? Was he
remembering something? Then he began to run across the snow. James ran with him. He caught the
snowman’s hand and all at once….they were walking in the air…looking far below…holding very
tight….and flying across the world.
“We’re walking in the air/ We’re dancing in the midnight sky/ And everyone who sees us/ Greets us
as we fly!” (Song)
When at last they landed, the snowman led James through dark, dark woods…..until they came upon
the most amazing sight that James could ever have imagined. All the snowmen and snow-women in
the world had come for a party! And there was Father Christmas! He gave James a present…and a
hug. Then they all ate and drank and danced and danced…until it was time to go home.
They flew back the way they had come….and soon they landed safely in James’s garden. The
snowman stood where James had first made him, but then James ran back, gave him one last
hug…..and whispered ‘Thank you’.
Next morning, the sun was shining. James jumped out of bed – rushed down the stairs and out
through the door to see his very special snowman. He couldn’t believe his eyes as he walked towards
a heap of melted snow, and a hat, a scarf, an orange and two small stones.
Had he been dreaming? James felt in his dressing-gown pocket, and pulled out a snowman scarf – his
present, given to him by Father Christmas, far away on one magical night.
Before Christmas we were invited to hold a dramatized reading of the story for the English playgroup
in the Höttinger Au, Innsbruck. We used this version of ‘The Snowman’. After the reading we gave
out 30 laminated cards, each with a picture of one scene from the story. The cards were in mixed
order. We then invited the children (with their parents or minders) to come out and hang up their
pictures on a strung-out washing line, with clothes-pegs, in the order of the scenes. They could then
all see the story unfold as a film. At the end we all sang ‘Walking in the Air’.
For those of you who are teachers, you can do a lot about ‘snowmen’ ….. and ‘snow-women’!…..
 in junior classes: inviting them to draw a snowman: draw a circle/ add two eyes/ add a nose/
add a mouth/ add a body/ draw two arms/ draw two legs/ add a hat, a scarf and three
buttons/ give him a broomstick. Feel free to label and colour your drawing as you wish.
 Then, singing a simple song: “I’m a little snowman, short and fat/ Here is my broomstick,
here is my hat/ When the sun comes out, I cannot play,/ Down, down, oh dear, I melt away.”
 But all is not lost! A little rhyme can offer a new snowman: “Now the sun is no more/ But the
clouds are low/ The first fresh flakes of snow!/ A new snowman, do you know?”
In keeping with the Christmas spirit, we can sing gently ‘Leise rieselt der Schnee’ to these
words in English: “Softly falls the snow/ Silent and frozen lies the lake/ Brightly shines the
wood wild/ Joy! Joy!Soon comes the Christ-Child.”
Frosty the Snowman (a song): “We’ll have fun, before I melt away in the sun,/ I’ll be back
again/ Some day….” There is a current version of that popular song that refers to global
warming, and its effect on the whole world, not just snowmen!

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Ein Gedanke zu “A Snowman on a motor-bike, from 1982

  1. What a lovely idea, to read the story to a playgroup. But there is one major omission in your story: The wonderful animated film of the story was originally produced for Channel 4 in 1982. In the popular video release later it was David Bowie who spoke the introduction. The film as such, like the book it is based on, is without dialogue but has a wonderful score by Howard Blake. The well-know song “Walking in the Air” was sung for the film by a choirboy from St Paul’s Cathedral.
    I watched it many times with my kids in the 1990s.
    How could you not mention the Scottish snowman in a kilt at the snow people gathering? We loved him!

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