"The Illustrated History of the Snowman"

Given the snowy winter we have had, I could not help picking up “The Illustrated History of the Snowman.” Bob Eckstein has written the definitive book on Frosty and friends, tracing their history back to the Dark Ages.

The author explores the snowman figure as it appears in movies, advertising, war, rare prints, miracles and a host of other settings. He chases the frigid character around the globe through museums and libraries and collects information from countless historians and scholars.

This quick read stresses that the snowman is not just a part of childhood memories, but a principal part of world culture. To my surprise, in addition to being presented as a fun-loving character, the snowman has a shadowy past of violence, sex and political scheming.

The 200 illustrations in this unique volume are outstanding. These historical images of “the single most recognized icon in the world” are entertaining and educational. There are also many photographs that will pique the reader’s interest and may trigger fond childhood memories.

The organization of the book is rather confusing because the chronology is hard to follow, but overall Eckstein has created a delightful read for adults, especially on a snowy day.

Bob Eckstein is an award-winning illustrator, writer, New Yorker cartoonist and snowman expert. He has discussed the folk-art of snowman-making on more one hundred radio and TV programs. His cartoons, editorial opinions and short stories appear regularly in the New York Times, MAD Magazine, Barron’s, Wall Street Journal and other publications. Globe Pequot is the publisher of this 210-page hardback.