Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White by Saumiya Balasubramaniam

Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White by Saumiya Balasubramaniam
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A little girl and her mother walk home from school on a snowy winter day.

“So much snow,” says Ma. “So monochromatic.”

“Mono crow what?” her daughter replies.

Ma misses the sun, warmth and colors of their faraway homeland, but her daughter sees magic in everything ― the clouds in the winter sky, the “firework” display when she throws an armful of snow into the air, making snow angels, tasting snowflakes. And in the end, her joy is contagious. Home is where family is, after all.

This gently layered, beautifully illustrated story that unfolds as a conversation between a mother and daughter will resonate with readers young and old.

Winter makes everything a little more exciting, especially during a storm.

There’s nothing like enjoying fresh snow. The most interesting scenes in my opinion were the ones that showed Ma embracing this weather with just as much enthusiasm as her child did. They even stuck their tongues out and tasted a few falling snowflakes which made me giggle. I appreciated the way the author captured what it’s like to walk outside and experience the magic of a snowstorm.

I would have liked to see more plot and character development in this picture book. There were hints of it here and there. For example, Ma mentioned missing the green palm trees of home at one point, but there was no follow-through for that statement even though it was a great opportunity to develop both the storyline and this character in particular. As much as I enjoyed seeing the two main characters enjoy the snow, the author could have done so much more with this tale.

The little girl and Ma had wildly different reactions to the same sights and sounds. For example, when they spotted some leftover maple leaves from the autumn, Ma immediately compared them to skeletons while her daughter took a much more Canadian approach to the topic. These brief snippets of conversation between them showed off their personalities nicely. They could have so easily been expanded much further than they would, and I would have loved to read more conversations between them.

Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White made me yearn for snow.

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