Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by ; translated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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Befriending someone made of snow holds certain risks.

Heading home to his grandmother, Little Mole finds a small snowball. He greets it, pushes it along so it grows far taller than him, and tells it a secret: “ ‘I just moved here. I don’t have any friends.’ / The snowball listened quietly.” He wants to bring this new friend home with him on the public bus, but these buses are for animals, not snow, and each driver nixes the idea. What if Little Mole shapes the snow into a bear? Gives it a snow-backpack or his own hat? Finally aboard a warm bus with his friend, Little Mole dozes off. When he wakens, the worst has happened. Most readers will understand why the snow-friend’s gone, but Little Mole doesn’t, and a great sadness ensues. Kim’s textual refrains (“Little Mole had a brilliant idea”; “He and his friend waited patiently”) are gently reassuring. The illustrations—done in colored pencil, pastel, and pen—are quiet and spare, showing snowy wilderness expanses with only a few trees and bus-stop signs. White snow blends softly into blue skies, with pale yellow used for warmth. Everything seems headed to the saddest possible ending, for how could a melted friend return? But after Little Mole’s sleepless night, the friend does return—or its likeness does—sitting across a snowy field, waiting. Did it come from magic or Grandma? Is there a difference?

Stillness, tenderness, and hope are the essence of this quiet gem. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-525-58134-5
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019