Book Review: Snowman's Story, a Wordless Picture Book by Will Hillenbrand

by DerdriuMarriner

Snowman's Story by Will Hillenbrand offers readers of all ages many ways to hear and tell about bears, books, bunnies, hats, owls, penguins, and snowmen in a wordless picture book.

Everything begins with an owl dropping a hat:

Will Hillenbrand’s books often accommodate reader interests in the world’s animals -- domesticated or wild, imagined or real. Snowman’s Story brings the Ohio-born author/illustrator’s expertise with appealing, cuddly animals to the reader-friendly format of the wordless picture book. A top hat dropped by an owl and left lying on its side in a evergreen-filled, snow-covered landscape therefore catches the attention of a passing bunny.

The bunny does what any good hat-trick rabbit does with a magic hat and scurries inside out of curiosity. Mother Nature immediately expresses her unwillingness to end severe weather by causing wintry winds to carry the hat and the rabbit aloft. The bunny and the hat fall gently atop a carrot-nosed, red-scarfed snowman.




In Snowman's Story, a bunny does what comes naturally upon encountering a hat: she climbs inside.

rabbit in hat
rabbit in hat

Everything continues with a snowman telling good stories


A brown bear and a red fox give the snowman form and life. A penguin holds onto a green-bound book while awaiting the snowman’s final make-over. The snowman is intent upon expressing appreciation for life by reading the book in its entirety to the bear, the fox, and the penguin.  

At the snowman’s turning of the last page, the bear joins the fox and the penguin in heading toward a nearby cave for a good night’s sleep. With the crescent moon still low in the snowy, starless sky, the snowman keeps awake long enough to make sure of his friends’ safe entries within the cave before falling asleep with the closed book clasped tightly by both hands. 


Serious snowball fights ensue in Snowman's Story as a bunny absconds with Snowman's book.

bursting snowball
bursting snowball

Everything depends upon chases, jumps, and snowball fights


The bunny leaves the hat to tiptoe alongside the snowman’s nodding head and wrench the book from the snowman’s relaxed grip. The snowman manages to call loudly enough to rouse the bear, the fox, and the penguin from the cave. The four friends near the cliff’s edge just as the bunny completes a big leap to the opposite cliff’s side.

A leafless tree whose roots dangle cliff-ward and whose trunk lends itself nicely to falling and forming a bridge offers the four friends hope of apprehending the thief and recovering the book. The bear and fox pull -- and the penguin pushes -- the snowman up a frozen waterfall and into a snowball fight with the bunny. 


Snowman's Story by Will Hillenbrand ~ available via Amazon

Filled with charm and fun, this wordless picture book from a beloved illustrator lets kids tell their own version of the story. One wintry day, a hat lands on the head of a newly made snowman and brings him to life.
Will Hillenbrand books

Everything ends with book, hat, and eleven friends


After snowballs knock hat and snowman over, the four friends question whether to keep following snow-filled tracks. Once through a large, leafless tree’s heavy door, they realize that a great story read by the rabbit to six bunnies around a warm fireplace sounds equally well by the snowman to everyone outside.

So Snowman’s Story shares culturally enriching, educationally entertaining adventures with pre-schoolers to second-graders aged 3 to 7 years and story-lovers of all ages, thanks to:

  •, Inc.’s Two Lions trademark;
  • Jen Browning, designer;
  • Katrina Damkoehler, designer; and
  • Will Hillenbrand, jacket and page illustrator and text author/artist with chalk pastel, china marker, collage, colored pencil, crayon, ink, kneaded eraser, pixels, 6B graphite pencil, transparent tape, and watercolor. 


Snowman's Story: Book Trailer/Pre-order

Published on YouTube on September 22, 2014 by Will Hillenbrand ~ URL:



My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


Will Hillenbrand's elegant details which increase the enchantment of Snowman's Story include a night of a crescent moon as backdrop for bunny's theft of Snowman's book.

crescent moon over the falls ~ Niagara Falls
crescent moon over the falls ~ Niagara Falls

Sources Consulted


Hillenbrand, Will. 2014. Snowman's Story. New York, NY: Two Lions. 


In Snowman's Story, Snowman scales dauntingly frozen waterfalls -- succeeding only with aid from bear, fox, and penguin -- in pursuit of a thieving bunny who hops and jumps easily across formidable landscapes.

Niagara in winter: 1874 lithograph by Edward E. Burrill (1835 - 1913)
Murdock's American Landscapes - Popular Graphic Arts Collection
Murdock's American Landscapes - Popular Graphic Arts Collection
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Let it snow: light blue t-shirt ~ available via AllPosters

Let it Snow
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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 03/18/2015, DerdriuMarriner
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