When you love the cold, can you also find happiness where it’s hot?
Arto has lived in the north for all seven years of his life. Because he’s careful to wear lots of layers, he can play outside in the snow with his friends for hours. One day, Arto’s mother tells him the family will soon be moving south for a year. Arto adopts a comically permanent frown all the way through packing and driving to the family’s new home in the desert. For weeks, he pretends that he still lives in the north, bundling up in all his layers and woolen cap. Then one day, a little girl named Ana approaches him as he sits scrunched up against a cactus (at least it has needles, just like a pine tree). She compliments his hat (she wears a cute, broad-brimmed hat herself) and invites him to play. Over the next few months, Arto spends more time playing and less time brooding. He trades his woolen cap for a cowboy hat from Ana. The year flies by, and soon it’s time to move back north. Arto returns with a smile on his face, all bundled up, his gift from Ana held gently in his hands. Arnaldo’s tale of unwelcome feelings and the importance of friendship is nicely paced and gracefully written, and her expressive, mixed-media paintings neatly evoke Arto’s journey.
Quietly effective. (Picture book. 5-8)