A CHRISTMAS WISH

The universal childhood fascination with snow globes is the theme of this Christmas story with minimalist text and a major dose of surrealist art. On Christmas Eve, a boy who lives near a lake in a warm climate wishes “it would snow like it does in my snow globe.” Two semi-transparent pages introduce a fantasy sequence in deep tones with snowflakes, a gigantic snowman, and strange, snowy creatures swooping into the boy’s world overnight, with the wild crowd skating on the now-frozen lake. With morning, reality returns and two more semi-transparent pages return the story to the boy and his snow globe. The enigmatic conclusion shows the huge snowman remaining in both the snow globe and the still-frozen lake, and the boy’s Christmas present of a pair of skates is waiting. The final page promises that “the magic has just begun!” and the boy is skating around the snowman. But the reader must decide if that is happening outdoors, in the snow globe, or in the boy’s imagination. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-525-47195-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2003

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DREAM SNOW

The venerable and prolific Carle (Hello, Red Fox, 1998, etc.) offers a quiet Christmas story with a little music at the end. A farmer lives alone on a small farm with so few animals that he calls them One, Two, Three, Four, and Five. Oh, he also has a tree named Tree. One night near Christmas he falls asleep in his favorite chair after his peppermint tea, and dreams that he is covered in a white blanket. On successive pages, One the horse, Two the Cow, Three the sheep, and so on are each covered in a snowflake blanket, accomplished by an acetate page of flakes and an amorphous shape that when turned reveals the animal. When the farmer awakes and finds it has snowed for real, he dresses himself warmly, decorates Tree, and strews gifts for all five animals under it. When he shouts “Merry Christmas to all!” he pushes a button that children can push, producing a lovely Yuletide tinkle. The pictures are in Carle’s trademark richly colored and textured collages that capture the snowy magic of Christmas. Adults may be charmed to see that Carle dedicates the book to Barry Moser, who modeled for the farmer, although from the photo on the back cover Carle and Moser could pass for brothers with their shiny pates and neat white beards. Cotton candy. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-399-23579-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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