A bear and a wolf share a wintertime idyll.
In the first double-page spread, readers look over the top of Bear’s head to a doglike figure in the middle distance, bare trees receding into the distance on either side to create depth. The following spread repeats the image, only from behind Wolf’s pointy-eared head. Bear explains that she is “out for a walk to feel the cold on my face, and to enjoy the quiet of the woods when it snows.” Likewise, Wolf is “out for a walk to feel the cold under my paws, and to listen to the crunching of the snow as I walk.” The two walk together, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest in winter, all evoked in quietly powerful sensory language. Readers who have met Salmieri through his illustrations for Adam Rubin’s hectic Dragons Love Tacos books may be surprised at the contemplative nature of this one. The use of gouache, watercolor, and crushed colored pencil gives his paintings a lovely soft texture, while the steady verticality of the trees and the consistent placement of text in a strip at the bottom of each spread lend them a feeling of calm serenity. The addition of pinks and purples to the grays and blues of a winter night chases away the bone-chilling cold.
With its air of nighttime mystery, this is one that readers will want to revisit again and again. (Picture book. 4-8)