The Snowy Day and Other Stories Review by Brandy

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The Snowy Day and Other Stories,” is adapted from Ezra Jack Keats’ children’s book tells a delightful tale of a young boy, Peter, and his experiences of living in an urban city. The show uses shadow puppetry in addition to a trio of actors onstage to portray the various stories.  Upon arriving, I was under impression we were watching just The Snowy Day and was in for a big surprise to find out that there were other stories being incorporated into the hour play as well.  After a little research, I learned that the book “The Snowy Day” was first published in 1962 and was a milestone achievement in children’s literature during the time of the Civil Rights movement.  We attended the play on a Saturday afternoon with our daughter, age 3, and our son, age 7.  They have been to many plays before at Childsplay and both reported they enjoyed this play very much as well.

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The show opens to the first setting with Peter waking up in winter to find out it has snowed.  While it might seem unusual for a play in Phoenix to focus on snow in winter, it seemed many children in the audience, including my own, were as excited about the snow as Peter was.  Peter sets out to explore the newly fallen snow and on the way finds joy sledding down a hill as well as sadness when he realizes he is too small to join a group of bigger kids who are having a snowball fight.  My daughter said her favorite part of the show was when Peter put a snowball in his pocket and then was shocked it was missing when he went to look for it later in the evening.  Many of the younger children in the audience hollered out trying to tell Peter his snowball had melted as he continued to look for it.  They seemed to take great joy in knowing a secret that Peter hadn’t figured out yet!

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After the snow, the setting changes to summer and Peter gains the experience of dealing with bullies as well as the exhilaration that comes after learning a new skill after a great deal of effort  (whistling).  Peter decides he wants to learn how to whistle so he can call his dog after observing an adult and their well-trained dog. Peter’s dog, a wooden dachshund on rollers, is a great addition and brings joy to the show as well.  My son said his favorite part was when one of the characters was encouraging Peter over and over (and over and over) to keep trying to learn how to whistle.  The final scene shows Peter getting ready for his birthday party, looking back to see how much he has grown over the past year as well as struggling to decide who to invite to the party.  Overall, the show presented many opportunities for children to enjoy and relate to their own experiences.

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After the show, the actors line up to ask the audience a question and then allow the audience to ask questions as well.  It seemed several of the children in the audience could definitely relate to Peter’s challenges because when the actors asked if anyone had ever had trouble learning something new, hands shot up across the audience as many children were eager to provide an answer. The honesty of the answers was definitely noteworthy – learning how to read, learning how to play the piano and learning how to play soccer with other children on a team.

Our family enjoyed this show and our car ride home was filled with conversation about the many adventures of Peter.  We encourage everyone to find time to see the “The Snowy Day and Other Stories” put on by the wonderful Childsplay theatre.

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