Splendid for storytimes or snuggles.

SEASIDE STROLL

The wonders of a winter walk.

This charming outing delights in many ways. First, the entire story is told with s-words, adjectives, verbs, and nouns: scruffy, slosh, and, best of all, standstill, as the two beachgoers, an adult and a child, encounter something special. Read more closely, it’s a poem with a pleasing rhythm and repetitions and a balanced, grammatical structure (explained further in an afterword). The text sits directly on full-bleed illustrations with just one or two lines to a spread, sometimes only a word. Pacing is also indicated with ellipses and page turns. “Slow steps—shuffle, straddle, saunter…sand” take the pair to the beach. Later there’s a “Steady step, solid step, shaky step…stumble,” and finally “Swift steps—scamper, scuttle, scurry…shower” before bedtime. Lechuga’s illustrations, done in an appropriately wintry, bleached-out palette, add depth and detail. The two have pale skin and straight light and darker brown hair for child and adult respectively. They dress appropriately for a cold winter walk. The adult’s A-shaped figure suggests possible pregnancy. The child carries a doll, which also wears a knitted cap. The beach they visit is full of wonders. Most astonishing are the crabs—who return, in this well-rounded tale, in a shared bedtime story. The winter landscape and changing sky are carefully depicted with added watercolor textures. One striking scene is a spread full of seabirds taking off as the girl approaches. “Super!”

Splendid for storytimes or snuggles. (suggestions for exploring the beach in winter) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-58089-932-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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