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by Ian Whybrow

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-899607-85-4
Publisher: Sterling

A sidelong fantasy from Whybrow with great charm, not the least of which are Reynolds’s poignant illustrations of a boy, the first snowfall, and the tiny snow king he creates. Harry has been waiting for the season’s first snow; when it comes, it’s quite modest, so Harry hunts and gathers enough snow (scraping leaves, gathering a stray drift) to make a foot-tall snow king, decked out with holly berries and a crown of autumn-crisp leaves. Harry’s older sister, Sam chides him, dismissing the small pile of snow that Harry is carrying around on a plate. After lunch, when Harry goes outside, the snow king has disappeared—kidnapped in Harry’s eyes, although readers will guess that the snow has melted. Harry suspects Sam of foul play, but she has been parked in front of the television. Mr. Oakley, driving by later on his tractor, suggests that the snow king might have gone to order more snow. The next day Harry awakens to plenty of snow and a whole community of big and small snowpeople; Mr. Oakley presents evidence (berries and the crown of leaves) that the snow king was party to the proceedings. Harry gets the first tractor tow of the winter on his sled; Sam is too busy with the television. A truly pleasing story, with Harry and Sam’s everyday contentiousness tempering the half-oblique magical elements. Reynolds’s illustrations recall the works of Charlotte Voake and Bob Graham, with the tilt of a head or dash of an eyebrow conveying weighty emotions indeed. (Picture book. 4-8)