Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow (2024)

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Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow (1)

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Jillian Jiggs

Phoebe Gilman


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Jillian wakes up to a wonderful snowy day. Eagerly she puts on her sweater and snow pants, but uhoh . . . her hat's missing! Jillian's creativity saves the day. Soon she is off to play, wearing an amazing Martian hat. Jillian and her friends have a great time, creating an elaborate Martian landscape in the snow, building snow creatures and riding cosmic space sleds. But as they play, Jillian's scarf and mittens disappear. Finally, even the Martian hat is gone. How is Jillian ever going to explain to her mother that her scarf, hat and mittens are lost again . . . on Mars? Phoebe Gilman's wonderful rhyming text and bright, playful illustrations capture all the excitement of a day of play in the snow!

    GenresPicture BooksChildrensCanadaPoetry

40 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2002

About the author

Phoebe Gilman


What can I tell you about myself? I like to make up stories and draw pictures. I like to go ice skating, to the movies and I love reading books.

I was born and grew up in the Bronx, New York. My Mother loved to read so it was only natural that my brothers and I got our own library cards as soon as we were able to print our names. My favorite books were fairy tales. When the pictures didn't match the images that the words had painted in my head, I would cover them up with my hands. I still do that.

I prefer the words to the pictures, which is a little odd since I think of myself as an artist rather than a writer. All of my formal training has been in art. I went to The High School of Art and Design. From there, it was a short skip and a jump over to The Art Student's League, after a brief detour to Hunter College. I spent fifteen years at the Ontario College of Art, teaching others how to draw and paint. It still surprises me to be called a writer.

As soon as I was able, I started to travel. I like meeting new faces and going to new places. One of the nice things about being an artist is that it is a very portable profession. I have lived for extended periods of time in both Europe and Israel.

Shortly after coming to Canada in 1972, I met and married Brian Bender. We have three children, Ingrid, Jason and Melissa, two granddaughters, Ariana and Emily and a cat, Minoo.

It was because of my daughter, Ingrid, that I became an author. When her balloon burst on a tree branch, I wished the tree would magically sprout balloons. It didn't...what sprouted was an idea in my head. Why not write a story about a tree that blossoms balloons? And that's how I came to write my first book, The Balloon Tree.

It is not how I came to be published. That took fifteen years and umpty zillion rejection slips to accomplish.

My advice to any aspiring author is:
•Get a balloon and let it go.
•Read. Read. READ!
•Write. Write. WRITE! (To do anything well takes practice.)
•Don't give up. Keep on trying.
•Don't be afraid of criticism. Learn from it.

From the author's website

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5 stars

43 (34%)

4 stars

45 (36%)

3 stars

33 (26%)

2 stars

4 (3%)

1 star

0 (0%)

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews


879 reviews11 followers

April 17, 2018

I just have such a bad taste in my mouth with the illustrations of certain Jillian Jiggs books that I think I don't even give them a chance. This rating may be biased because of that. Take that into consideration. There is rhyming and I kinda hated it.


Dana Vlahova

1 review

January 19, 2020

One of my all-time favourites: great story, wonderful rhyming, fun illustrations. Now that my kids are teenagers, I read it to others in Kids Club at my Horizons Language Center (Centre de langues Horizons) where elementary-school age kids learn English as a second language.


727 reviews

October 30, 2022

I have loved Jillian Jiggs since i was a child, she was my favourite Phoebe Gilman book to read.

And now 30 years later, I'm buying them again to complete my collection.


896 reviews26 followers

January 17, 2013

The back cover of this book tells me that “Phoebe Gilman is one of Canada’s best-loved children’s book author/illustrator.” After reading Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, I can see why.

When I read a picture book, I speak out loud, as if I were reading to a child. To do that with this book is a real pleasure. In two-line rhymes, Gilman fairly bounces us through the story of Jillian, excited by the snow but not allowed out until she finds her hat. Her mom says:
“Jillian, Jillian, say it’s not true.
How do you lose all things that you do?”

By the time Jillian finishes her play outside, she is minus her scarf, hat, and both mittens and her friends and her sister have repeated this mantra several times.

The imagination in the snow play is wonderful – the children build Martians and monsters, and roads for Mars. And the issue of lost outerwear is very realistic – a perennial problem with children.

The illustrations, “created in gouche and coloured pencils”, are also excellent – bright and cheerful with just the right amount of detail. I stop and examine the pictures and point out to myself what I would to a child: a small cat in the house scenes, various implements and activities in the outdoor scenes.

I didn’t expect to like this book much, but I did and I highly recommend Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, especially to children who live in snowy climates! 4½ stars

Written and illustrated by: Phoebe Gilman
Published by: North Winds Press 2002

Steven R. McEvoy

3,326 reviews135 followers

January 4, 2023

Jillian is a child with a zest for life; unfortunately she is known to lose a thing a or two. And do you know what her mother will say?

"Jillian, Jillian say it's not true!
How do you lose all the things that you do?"

But in this story it goes very far, such as how many things can she lose in one day at the park? While playing in the snow with her friends and making a series of Martian snow creatures, she loses item after item of clothing but just keeps playing.

The illustrations in this story were great fun. Children will love them and the rhyming story. It is an awesome book and we will be looking to read more Jillian Jiggs adventures soon.

Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More.



12 reviews1 follower

January 23, 2014

The flow and rhyming make it a pleasure to read aloud, and the children can join in on some of the phrases that are repeated. I like that the sentences are long, and resemble everyday speech patterns (unlike green eggs and ham).
The illustrations are cute and aptly capture the topic on each page.
Something we can all relate to is a missing hat, scarf and mittens. Add to that the excitement of a fresh snowfall, and all the wonderful things you can dream up when playing outside, and you've got a fun story.
I really enjoyed reading this book to my children.



226 reviews

December 20, 2008

On the last day of Kindergarten before the break I took the kids to the library and read them this story about how Jillian Jiggs is always losing her things in the snow. They thought it was quite funny and had fun guessing what she would lose next. Later that day we had to walk to the hall for the Christmas Dinner and one of the boys decided to go through some deep snow and lost his boot! I said he was just like Jillian Jiggs and they all laughed and laughed.

    canadian-lit childrens-lit kindergarten


390 reviews93 followers

May 19, 2012

I love Jillian Jiggs. The rhyming prose is flowing, fun and smart. The kids love it because they can chime in and there's just something magical and heartwarming about Jillian Jiggs. Like Dr. Seuss; you are never too old for Jillian Jiggs. In the Great Bug Snow, you can celebrate the winter time with kids and laugh as Jillian loses every single piece of her warm winter clothing. I now tell my students when something is lost "it isn't list, it just isn't found".



347 reviews11 followers


January 7, 2008

A cute book with enjoyable rhyming. We can definately relate to the losing of mittens, hats, etc.



110 reviews

August 11, 2016

A good winter time book, I use it for inquiry and it's interactive in having children find the items lost, the creatures made.

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews

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