- ISBN-13: 9780547910659
- ISBN-10: 0547910657
- Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Company
- Publish Date: October 2014
- Page Count: 40
- Reading Level: Ages 4-7
- Dimensions: 11.25 x 8.93 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-09-29
- Reviewer: Staff
Newcomer Gill’s story starts on a winter afternoon as a boy tries to persuade his older brother to play outside. (In a collection of otherwise dreamlike spreads, the image of the older boy staring slack-jawed at his computer provides a moment of comedy.) Alone outside, the younger boy builds a gigantic snowman as snow-blanketed spruce trees watch over him; although he doesn’t realize it, they’re alive. Imagination reigns as the snowman, too, comes to life, peers gently down at the boy, then helps him build a magnificent snow castle. At day’s end, the sunset takes shape as a gold- and rose-tinted dragon: “Together the boy and the dragon fly over the trees, over the house, and above the village, until the world below looks very small.” Gill understands the dynamics of storytelling and uses economical narration and white space with practiced skill. There’s a push-and-pull between the charm of the boy’s solitary adventure and the need to resolve the conflict with his older brother; their reconciliation is a tad hasty. Nevertheless, Gill’s ability to make the world of imagination come alive is indisputable. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
First sign of flurries
Snow holds a special sway over the imagination. Daredevil sledding sessions, snowball brawls, warm cups of cocoa—snow days are coming soon, so now's the time to get ready!
Caldecott Honor winner John Rocco shares an epic incident from his childhood in Blizzard, an account of the 1978 storm that dropped 40 inches of snow on the Northeast. While the young narrator is initially thrilled by the weather (no school!), he finds that snow, in excess, does not necessarily equal fun. The white stuff won’t support the weight of sledders, and walking through it is like wading. With stressed parents, a rapidly diminishing stock of food and no sign of snowplows, the narrator, inspired by the Artic explorers of old, sets off on an expedition to collect supplies—a major mission that proves a success. From this boyhood victory, Rocco has created an unforgettable book. Through his intriguing pencil, watercolor and digitally painted illustrations, he cleverly communicates the scale of the blizzard (a stop sign disappears into a drift), and his characters’ warm, beaming faces reflect the celebratory spirit that snow always seems to inspire.
In Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold, Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen take a fascinating look at how animals endure the shivery, dark weeks of winter. Through rollicking rhymes and breezy free verse, Sidman examines the cold-weather habits of wolves, moose, snakes, beavers, tundra swans and more. Her lines are full of fresh imagery (bees have “eyelash legs” and “tinsel wings”), and the collection as a whole unlocks the secrets of nature in ways young readers will appreciate. (Who knew that snakes hibernate in the same place every winter?) Sidebars offer intriguing survival stories and fun facts about each creature, while Allen’s digitally layered linoleum-block prints provide detailed studies of the season. A collection that’s as crisp as the first snowfall, Winter Bees is the perfect way to pass a chilly afternoon.
In her magical new book, Outside, Deirdre Gill celebrates the mind-expanding nature of snow and the ways it can lend new dimension to the everyday world. A restless boy watches through a window as white flakes pile up outside. After exhausting all of his indoor options (like pestering his brother), he leaves the house and heads into the woods, where the majestic, snow-coated trees provide a change of perspective. Left to his own devices, he rolls up a frosty white ball that transforms into—among other thrilling things—a giant snowman. When a winged dragon enters the mix, the boy enjoys a ride through the sky. Gill’s expert oil-on-paper illustrations create a telling contrast between the house’s stuffy interior and the open-ended nature of the great outdoors. Her lovely book captures the quiet mystery of the season.