A charmingly illustrated catalog of things to do in the snow, Berger’s latest nonetheless lacks a narrative to hold it together.
After a gentle snowstorm, people come out to enjoy some winter fun. “Emma got to make the first tracks in the snow… // but then Leo whooshed by on his skis. // Otto got lost in a deep drift. // Sasha and Max showered Oscar with a wild flurry of snowballs….” And so it continues—a loose collection of winter activities, characters’ names blending together and becoming meaningless in their sheer number—19 by the end, none repeating. They climb to the top of a snow mountain; build a fort and snowmen; sled; ice skate; make snow angels; and even open an icicle stand. As dusk descends, the warm lights guide them toward home, warm clothing and hot chocolate. The muted colors, clothing styles and sparse details in both the illustrations and the text lend this a retro feel that is echoed in the old-fashioned sleds and skates and the rustic, small-town setting. Berger’s now-trademark illustration style is much in evidence here, white ephemera providing a snowy backdrop, while collaged elements give a 3-D, scrapbook effect. Quirky characters sport pointed orange noses and round heads like snowmen, making each one seem like a combination person/bird.
With no story to follow, readers are not likely to ask for rereadings, however masterful the images. (Picture book. 2-5)