THE FIRST DAY OF WINTER

Fleming creatively employs the structure of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to create a cumulative tale about the decorations for a snowman, beginning with the addition of a “red cap with a gold snap” on the first day of winter. On each subsequent day, the African-American narrator’s best friend provides something else to add to the snowman’s outfit: “2 bright blue mittens, 3 striped scarves,” and much more, right on down to “10 salty peanuts” for the snowman’s toes. Fleming uses her signature collage technique against pale gray backgrounds dotted with white snowflakes, with different animals on each page helping to add the details to the snowman. The perspectives vary until the last, wordless spread, which shows the completed snowman in a horizontal orientation that provides a satisfying conclusion. Teachers and librarians will add this volume to story times with winter or snow themes, and the clever new words to a favorite old tune might become a new winter favorite in music classrooms. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8050-7384-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2005

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COUNT DOWN TO FALL

Beginning with the number ten, Hawk’s verses count down different tree leaves/seeds in all their fall glory. “Nine dogwood leaves / bright shining scarlet, / drifting down, down, down— / like the tail of a comet.” While the text is problematic—there are rhyme and scansion issues and one page does not name the tree featured at all—Neidigh’s illustrations do not disappoint. Detailed borders include close-up views of the bark of each tree while corners depict the whole tree, the leaves (both summer and fall colors) and the seeds. Woodland animals round out each spread, in which readers can count the leaves. Most are very clear, but extra objects may occasionally confuse readers. Backmatter gives readers a chance to test their knowledge of plant parts, categorize leaves according to their shape, match summer and fall leaves and learn how people and animals use some of the trees featured in the text. The visual details make this a delight to the eye, but unfortunately the verses are not music to the ear. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 10, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-934359-94-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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THE SNOWY NAP

A hedgehog tries to stay awake for winter.

It’s almost time to hibernate, and Hedgie means to. But as he sniffs the chilly wind, farmyard animals taunt him about what he’ll miss. The hens’ coop will be “bedazzled by icicles”; the geese will joyfully “slip and slide across the pond ice”; the pony will pull a sleigh; snowflakes will fall, no two alike. The animals heckling Hedgie—hens, geese, sheep, pigs, a billy goat, a pony—are drawn with fine lines, hatchings, and textures. Because their faces are mostly realistic with only faint hints of anthropomorphism, their needling is subtle; some readers may hear their points as merely informative. Either way, Hedgie’s seized by FOMO: He decides to stay awake. When he accidentally nods off, farm girl Lisa brings him indoors and places him in a tea cozy on a windowsill. Nature will eventually run its course, but not before Hedgie finally glimpses “flowers of frost decorating his window,” the chicken coop “sparkl[ing] like a palace,” and Lisa pond-sliding with the geese. Brett’s watercolor-and-gouache illustrations feature both soft and bright colors, with fine lines and copious textures to peruse; the borders are characteristically fussy (braided yarn, pinking-shears edging, oval insets) but not distractingly so. Between the opulent farmhouse with decorative plates on the walls, the sleigh with sleigh bells, and the lack of adults, combined with a comfortably heated interior, this is a winter idyll. Lisa presents white.

Amiable. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-17073-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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