A Swiss flight of fancy pairs a little girl with a big, white playmate.
On her way to pick berries, Lily discovers a white snow bear slumbering inside a fridge parked on a wintry hillside. He’s gruff, but magical too, granting three wishes: a basket of berries, the ability to fly and freedom from her fear of the dark. Charmingly absurd, this quirky tale slips and slides in pacing and plot. Its cadence (the translation is a little clunky, like a clog) and sensibility (nothing saccharine here: “You don’t know much about snow bears, do you?” and “Shut the door, girl!”) make this somewhat odd tale fresh and unusual. Cool blues and crisp whites cover pages like blankets of snow, their frosty tones invigorated by the valentine red of Lily’s scarf and the yellows of her hair and distant sun. Simple, unadorned and warm, these illustrations recall folk art in their economy and good nature. A fireside ending provides coziness as well. After the snow bear returns sleeping Lily to her doorstep, she shares her adventure with her parents while popping berries like a big, burly bear. Squinting readers will spy the snow bear through the window, flying north on the wind, just as he said he would. Why would he lie, anyway?
A little awkward, but appealing in its uncommon language, unusual hero and kindly artwork. (Picture book. 2-6)