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Book review: Minnesota winters inspire new snow plow story

"Small Walt" book cover. Submitted photo

With Thanksgiving now in the rearview mirror, many Midwesterners are beginning to look fondly toward the Christmas season — and even winter.

Slushy snow, fluffy snow, snow pouring out of the sky, snow sticking on the ground. Snow for sports and snow for snowmen. Holiday snow.

The sensation of driving in the dark through a freshly fallen snow is a very relatable experience for any Minnesotan or Wisconsinite. Having that experience captured on paper is both comforting and nostalgic; through many pleasant onomatopoeic phrases and dimly lit landscapes, author Elizabeth Verdick and artist Marc Rosenthal successfully translate this feeling in their new book.

"Small Walt" is a children's picture book with a warm message about believing in your abilities and doing your best.

Walt is the smallest snow plow in a large fleet, presumably the least powerful of the bunch, and he isn't expected to clear much snow during a blizzard. But with a little encouragement from his friendly driver Gus, he impresses even his worst skeptics.

"Small Walt" is a charming story that's perfect for winter storytime. It takes a treasured moment of the season — a big, nighttime snow — and celebrates the commitment of our plow drivers who work tirelessly to ensure the roads are safe for us all the next day.

Verdick grew up in Maryland but now lives in Minnesota, where the more extreme winters captured her imagination and inspired her to write this story. She has been writing books for young people since 1997. "Small Walt" is her first story published by Simon & Schuster.

Verdick will be signing copies of "Small Walt" at Fair Trade Books on Saturday, Nov. 25.