Brett’s latest holiday offering is set in northern Canada, featuring a cast of forest animals who celebrate Christmas together with handmade gifts left by their own special Santa.
On Christmas Eve, Big Snowshoe is explaining the holiday to his younger brother, Little Snow, who is experiencing his first holiday celebration. The older hare and the other animals describe the presents they have received from Santa in the past, though they have never seen him and don’t really know who he is. The animals decorate their Christmas tree as they speculate on Santa’s identity, suggesting other, larger animals, such as a polar bear or a moose. The main story takes place across the center of each spread, but in Brett’s signature structural design, on the side of each page is a separate panel that presents a secondary story. The frames of these detailed panels are done in the style of traditional quillwork, with intricately woven motifs and a central opening in each showing tiny, red-capped lemmings creating Christmas gifts from natural materials. The animals awaken as Christmas presents begin falling from the sky at midnight, and the final spread reveals the animals’ Santa as a snowy owl wearing a pointed, red cap and carrying a basket of handmade gifts.
Brett excels at snowy settings, and her legions of fans will enjoy this well-told tale accompanied by her usual highly detailed watercolor illustrations and skillfully integrated secondary story.(Picture book. 4-8)