Ezra Jack Keats was known for his striking mixed media collages and for his stories. Keats was awarded the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1963 for The Snowy Day. During his early career illustrating books for different children's picture book authors, Ezra Jack Keats was dismayed that an African American child was never the main character.
When Keats began writing his own books, he changed that. While Keats had illustrated a number of children's books for others, The Snowy Day was the first book he both wrote and illustrated. The Snowy Day is the tale of Peter, a little African American boy who lives in the city, and his delight in the first snow of the winter.
While Peter's joy in the snow will warm your heart, Keats' dramatic illustrations will have you shivering! His mixed media collages include collage papers from a variety of countries, as well as oil cloth and other materials. India ink and paint are used in several ways beside the traditional ones, including stamping and spattering.
What most impresses me is the way Keats captures the effects of sunlight on snow. If you've ever been out in the snow, especially on a sunny day, you know that snow is not just white, that many colors sparkle in the snow, and Keats captures that in his illustrations.
I recommend The Snowy Day for ages 3-6 particularly. It is one of seven picture books by Keats about Peter. For more of Keats's stories, see Keats's Neighborhood. Compare prices. (Penguin, 1976. ISBN: 9780140501827)