The Snowman



size shape bring/brought/brought
turret original as you can see
bit (2) scantly companion
far edible anymore
jolly record Guinness Book of World Records
soul pipe (2) corn cob
coal button right now
trace mention mean (2)
adorn U-boat illustration
mark it seems identification
crew collect traditional
offer consider disreputable
cuddle percent pretty (2)


Video: The Snowman


“Let it snow, let it snow and snow.”

This winter has brought little snow to southwestern Germany. But there are snowmen here in Reutlingen; plenty of them. The snowmen are in the home of Cornelius Grätz. For thirty years, he’s collecting snowmen of all shapes and sizes.

“When I was 13 years old, I was given this Marztepin snowman. This really is the original. As you can see, he’s darkened a bit. Today, I wouldn’t offer him to anyone because he is part of the collection and I don’t think he’s a hundred percent edible anymore,” says Grätz.

Since then Grätz has collected far more than three thousand snowmen — and he’s made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Frosty the Snowman was a jolly, happy soul. With a corn cob pipe and a button nose and eyes made of coal.”

“Right now we can trace the snowman to about 1760 or 1780. That’s when they were first mentioned in books, song books, and illustrations,” says Grätz.

“Let it snow, let it snow and snow.”

And it seems there can be nothing that can’t be adorned with a snowman.

“U-boats in the Second World War all had an identification mark. And there was the U-201, under the command of Admiral Ada Schnee, which means snow, and it always had this snowman symbol, both for the crew and the submarine turret itself.

The snowman has traditionally been considered something for children, something lovable. But the snowman also has a disreputable side: there are pictures of young, often scantily clothed women cuddling up to this cold companion.”

All in all, researching and collecting snowmen has been what might be called a pretty cool hobby for Cornelius Grätz.


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1. There was a lot of snow in southwest Germany this winter. True or false?

2. What can visitors see in Cornelius Grätz’s home?

3. How long has Grätz been collecting snowmen? How old was he when he began collecting snowmen?

4. His first snowman has changed color. Yes or no?

5. Has he collected under or over 3,000 snowmen?

6. Cornelius Grätz has the largest snowman collection in the world. Is this correct or wrong?

7. When did snowmen first appear, in history? What happened then?

8. The submarine was a snowman as a symbol. Why did the submarine have a snowman as a symbol?

9. Snowman art has only been for children. True or false?

10. What is Cornelius’s hobby? Did the report say what his job was?
A. It snows in my town or city every winter. Yes or no, or it used to?

B. Have you made snowmen?

C. Do you collect something? What do you like to collect?

D. Do your friends have a large collection of anything?

E. What would you like to collect in the future?

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