Three animal friends rescue a sick swallow and nurse her back to health in time to celebrate Christmas together.
Squirrel, Mouse, and Hare are busy decorating and baking for Christmas in their cozy burrow in a snowy hillside. When Mouse heads out to find a present for Hare, she stumbles across a swallow lying nearly dead in the snow. The three friends work together to get Swallow back to their burrow, where they tenderly care for her. The animals use two presents they have prepared for one another to help Swallow: brewing medicinal tea from coneflower blossoms and stretching out a warm, knitted hat to fit the sick bird’s head. As Swallow recovers, she sings beautiful music for them, providing a gift for Hare, who loves music. The simple story is gracefully told, with understated prose that complements the minimalist watercolor-and-ink illustrations in a muted palette. The stylized animals are drawn with tiny repeating dashes of ink in patterned lines to indicate fur in an intriguing way. The mammals’ eyes are depicted as curved lines, as are the swallow’s in most illustrations.
The gentle tone of both the story and the illustrations is a refreshing, pleasant take on the theme of helping someone in need and enjoying the bonds of friendship. (Picture book. 3-7)