A sequel of sorts—and a wordy one at that—to the lovely, wordless and beloved The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs (1978).
Billy has moved to a new home, and his old dog dies soon after. But he finds in the house a box with a scarf, hat and other items—and a picture of a boy standing next to a snowman wearing them. He is inspired to build his own snowman, along with a snowdog because he misses his own. Snowman and Snowdog come alive at midnight and with Billy go off on flying adventures and win a downhill race. A gift of a collar from Santa himself turns the snowdog into a real one, and Billy is delighted, although boy and dog discover the snowman has melted away in the morning sun. The abrupt loss of the dog, the discovery of the box (under a floorboard), and the awakening of snowdog and snowman—not just to life but to flying and then racing—make for a confusing and unsatisfying tale. One wonders, too, what Billy’s mom makes of the sudden appearance of an actual dog on what may or may not be Christmas morning. The uncredited illustrations are not a patch on Briggs’ original, atmospheric images.
A travesty. (Picture book. 5-7)