FIRST SNOW, MAGIC SNOW

A richly illustrated and gracefully narrated version of a Russian tale, ``The Snow Maiden'': A snowbaby made by a childless woodsman comes to life and delights him and his wife all winter; then, coming too near a spring bonfire, ``Snowflake'' vanishes. Journeying to the north, the grieving couple begs Grandfather Frost to return their missing child and, moved by their love, he allows her to come back with the first snowfall. The vibrant illustrations, in shades of blue and violet with touches of gold and red, recall Russian folk art in their decorative motifs. A single panel may suggest different locations, the passage of time, or the stages of a journey; there are delicate borders—guardian angels with snowflake-framed faces in gorgeously patterned costumes, woodland details, and much more. More elaborate than Croll's The Little Snowgirl (1989), and for a slightly older audience. (Folklore/Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-02-717971-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Four Winds/MacMillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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INDIAN SHOES

A very pleasing first-chapter book from its funny and tender opening salvo to its heartwarming closer. Ray and his Grampa Halfmoon live in Chicago, but Grampa comes from Oklahoma. Six vignettes make up the short chapters. Among them: Ray finds a way to buy Grampa the pair of moccasins that remind him of home and Smith gets in a gentle jab at the commercialization of Native American artifacts. At a Christmas stuck far away from the Oklahoma relatives the pair finds comfort and joy even when the electricity goes out, and in a funny sequence of disasters, a haircut gone seriously awry enables a purple-and-orange dye job to be just the ticket for little-league spirit. The language is spare, clean, and rhythmic, with a little sentimentality to soften the edges. Ray and Grampa have a warm and loving intergenerational bond that’s an added treat. With a nod toward contemporary Native Americans, Grampa tells Cherokee and Seminole family stories, and when Ray gets to be in a wedding party, the groom is Polish-Menominee and his bride is Choctaw. An excellent choice for younger readers from the author of the bittersweet Rain Is Not My Indian Name (2001). (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-029531-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

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THUNDER ROSE

Nolen and Nelson offer a smaller, but no less gifted counterpart to Big Jabe (2000) in this new tall tale. Shortly after being born one stormy night, Rose thanks her parents, picks a name, and gathers lightning into a ball—all of which is only a harbinger of feats to come. Decked out in full cowboy gear and oozing self-confidence from every pore, Rose cuts a diminutive, but heroic figure in Nelson’s big, broad Western scenes. Though she carries a twisted iron rod as dark as her skin and ropes clouds with fencing wire, Rose overcomes her greatest challenge—a pair of rampaging twisters—not with strength, but with a lullaby her parents sang. After turning tornadoes into much-needed rain clouds, Rose rides away, “that mighty, mighty song pressing on the bull’s-eye that was set at the center of her heart.” Throughout, she shows a reflective bent that gives her more dimension than most tall-tale heroes: a doff of the Stetson to her and her creators. (author’s note) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-15-216472-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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