A snowman explores his wintry world with unexpected results in this debut children’s book.
Three friends of different ethnicities decide to give their snowman, named Ice Dream, three special gifts. The children search on a computer for the perfect items and decide on a pair of sparkly marbles for his eyes, a red rosebud for his heart, and a yellow apple for his brain. These three gifts, easily identifiable and given a sense of magic in Dadgar’s images, combine to bring Ice Dream to a kind of life: he’s aware, but to his dismay, he can’t move to follow the children to school. “I wish I could move just once in my life and go where I like,” Ice Dream muses, bemoaning all the things that can run—children, pets, the nearby brook, cars, and airplanes—while he can’t. His secret wish is granted by Angel Cloud, whose feathered crown and wings give her an ethereal look that counters her very earthy bare feet. But, she warns him, by the end of the day, he’ll go through a big transformation. As Ice Dream follows the children’s snowy footprints, he encounters a number of people and creatures who require help. Each time, his special gifts inspire him to feel love, concern, and kindness toward the animal or person in need, and he sacrifices one of his features—his carrot nose to a hungry bunny, his bead buttons to a little girl whose mother can’t afford to buy her beads, his red mittens to a man who, barehanded, helps an old woman get her car out of the snow. Once Ice Dream reaches the school, he’s caught in an exhilarating snowball fight, but his chilly form, without its attributes except the three gifts, crumbles. In Mottahedeh’s charming story about the power of love, the three children find their gifts and realize Ice Dream has changed. When they rebuild him, the gifts bring him back to life, altered and happy (“They all saw that even though he looked the same, there was something wonderfully different about him”). While some children may not adore the illustration style, which is quite abstract, the book offers delightfully diverse characters, heartfelt lessons, and eye-catching colors in the painted compositions.
An engaging and beautifully illustrated tale about the bountiful rewards of kindness.