This sweet, beautifully illustrated snow adventure uses creative design to tell one wordless story as if it were two.
On each double-page spread, a page-and-a-half forms one large blue and white picture tastefully highlighted with browns and golds. The other half-page features three tiny black-and-white drawings, vertically stacked but not separated by dividers. In both narratives, a girl builds a big polar bear out of snow, goes inside to bed, and falls into a dreamy frozen landscape. She plays with two polar bears, meets a baby seal and an arctic fox, and curls up to sleep between the two bears in an enchantingly cozy snow-sleep picture. Whether the adventures are dreams or reality doesn’t especially matter. Most interesting is the juxtaposition of large color pictures and the tiny black-and-whites: Rockhill avoids a facile formula (he could easily have taken the fantasy vs. reality route) and lets the content of the two complement--without repeating--each other. In the transition from bed to snowscape, a blanket edge slowly becomes a scarf and a snowdrift-like pillow becomes a hat. Those vertical hanging colors--are they curtain edges or the Aurora Borealis? This safe and thrilling night comes to an end as the girl wakes and ventures outside to find that her snowbear has melted--or maybe sauntered off to the Arctic.
A poem on the last page, in both English and Spanish, seems superfluous after such a silently wonderful visual treat. (3-6)