This odd but sweet tale is flavored with a bit of O. Henry’s “Gift of the Magi.”
Luna, in her igloo, and Bear, in a snow cave in Luna’s garden, are the best of friends in their snowy world (with not another soul, including a parent for Luna, in sight). They do everything together, and when Bear finds a wonderful yellow flower (a long-stemmed crocus?) blooming in the snow, he knows just whom to give it to. Luna is thrilled with the sunshine flower, but when it dies, nothing can bring back her smile. Desperate to cheer up his friend, Bear sets off on a worldwide search for another sunshine flower, while back at home, Luna pines for her best friend. A stray snowflake on Bear’s nose points him, empty-handed, toward home, where Luna has a surprise of her own—she planted a seed from the first flower and grew her own, saving the rest of the seeds to plant with her friend, who brought her smile back. Allsop’s friends are full of expression, the simply drawn cuddly polar bear managing to convey emotion, while her adorable, Inuit-looking girl displays great body language. Her watercolors beautifully juxtapose warm and cool colors, though the spare typeface doesn’t match the tone of the artwork.
This friendship tale definitely has a message, but readers may not be able to find it under the snow. (Picture book. 4-7)