A WARM FRIENDSHIP by Ellen DeLange

A WARM FRIENDSHIP

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 6
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A squirrel and a snowman cherish their friendship and hope it will last forever in this Belgian/Dutch import.

When Squirrel sees a shivering, sobbing snowman alone in the cold, she gathers scarves and blankets with the other forest animals to keep him warm. Her act of kindness begins a friendship full of fun that inspires the whole forest to join their play. However, the snow starts melting as the “days fly by,” and Squirrel’s best friend disappears, too. All the forest animals experience the loss. Collagelike illustrations cover every spread with whimsical, wintry scenes, leaving no white space apart from the snow. DeLange foreshadows the snowman’s inevitable demise with warmer weather, so his melting arrives naturally, but the resolution afterward is abrupt and offers hollow closure. Owl’s words of comfort (the concluding lines of the book) dismiss Squirrel’s feelings about the loss of her best friend with the platitude “Don’t be sad”: Snowman lives on in the flowers, leaves, and hearts of his friends. Bright spring colors in the background correspond with this tone of forced positivity. The story introduces no twists or surprises to the “melting snowman” trope. While the celebration of friendship and kindness is sweet, the treatment of Squirrel’s grief gives the story’s overall message an insensitive ring.

An invalidating and tactless lesson about coping with the sudden loss of a friend. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-60537-449-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Clavis
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019