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WINTER FRIENDS by Mary Quattlebaum


by Mary Quattlebaum & illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-74626-1
Publisher: Doubleday

An uneven collection of poems tells the story of one winter day spent playing outside and making new friends. Quattlebaum’s verses give voice to a young girl’s observations, and many of them are evocative and believably childlike. She uses a variety of forms to good effect, including haiku and concrete poems. Occasionally, however, her rhymes seem forced (a dog says “yop” to rhyme with “stop”) or sing-song-y. And some poems seem too sophisticated in vocabulary or concept to fit the child’s narrative voice. Nakata’s colorful watercolors extend the story considerably while also contributing to the sense of disconnect with the more complex poems. They show a cheerful blond preschooler (at the most—in some pictures she looks like a toddler) waking up on a snowy day, heading outside with her mother, finding a blue mitten, connecting with the young boy who lost it, sledding in the park and finishing the day with a cozy cocoa party. Bright colors and simple rounded shapes show up well against the snowy white backgrounds. Not essential, but fun. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)