A community caught under the pall of a weeklong cold snap comes together in this cozy, old-fashioned story that is high on both charm and appeal.
The Toby Mills cold snap begins innocently enough on a Friday, with snow angels, sledding and an icicle on the nose of the statue of the town founder. On Saturday, soup and stew are popular menu items at the diner, and the icicle is chin-length. On Sunday, the heavily clothed townspeople shiver through church services. Wednesday is so cold that the mayor wears his robe and pink bunny slippers…at work. By Friday, the statue’s icicle reaches the ground, along with everyone’s patience. But the mayor’s wife has just the solution—a warm winter surprise that brings out the best in everyone and makes them forget the cold. The quaint details in Spinelli’s text that are brought to life in Priceman’s gouache illustrations make this book stand out, giving it the air of an old-fashioned seek-and-find. “Franky Tornetta stopped whining about his itchy woolen socks and put on three pairs,” and there he is in the picture, green socks layered over red and yellow. Boldly colored vignettes and spreads that depict the small-town setting and round-headed, pink-cheeked characters enhance the retro feel of the book.
This may not be the most exciting or enthralling winter tale, but it is perfect for sharing during readers’ own cold snaps—calming, reassuring, charming. (Picture book. 4-8)