JUST SO WILLOW by Sara Shacter


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
Email this review


A youngster’s passionate efforts to keep things pristine prove challenging.

Willow, a white bear cub, prefers things prim and tidy, even going to lengths to unscramble her spaghetti. When a fresh snowfall makes her backyard into “a crisp, white sheet,” she thinks it’s “perfect.” But then an errant snowball from some kids playing nearby (other arctic animals, including a seal, puffin, and hare) threatens to turn the snow into “a lumpy, bumpy mess.” She tries yelling remonstrations to them, but they’re too loud and she’s too far away. She tries to get closer, jumping from her back porch to her swingset, fully aware of the consequences to her precious snow if she falls. Eventually, she jury-rigs a zip line to the fence, but the force takes out some boards, on which she toboggans wildly, making “a crisp, white ribbon” in the snow that is, in her eyes, “perfect.” Everyone happily joins in for some winter fun. The narrative stretches on a bit long and sometimes feels itself like wildly thrown snowballs in its effort to reach 32 pages. Nevertheless, the lesson to accept changes and messiness is a valuable one for similarly minded readers. The illustrations are animated, especially in Willow’s expressions (perhaps overly so). Pleasing highlights include many piles of soft, convex snow and coloring that’s just outside the lines.

Subtly imperfect. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4549-2741-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Sterling
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2019


ChildrenLIKE A LIZARD by April Pulley Sayre
by April Pulley Sayre
ChildrenHOW COULD A BEAR SLEEP HERE? by Julie Gonzalez
by Julie Gonzalez