A story that may be most successful as a spirited, animated read-aloud.


The Secret Snowflake


In this debut picture book, a special child must be found in order to save Christmas.

Each year at 4:31 a.m. on Christmas morning, after Santa Claus has delivered gifts and returned to the North Pole, the Secret Snowflake shines “golden rays of Christmas Spirit” into the hearts of those who “believe in the magic of Christmas.” However, the snowflake’s source of power lessens every year. To restore its strength, a noble child of “pure heart” must be identified and brought to the snowflake’s location, so that the child may make a wish upon it. Three types of “mythical snow creatures” protect the Secret Snowflake, each endowed with special powers. The Spirit Seekers, who discover and transport the child, are described as musical “snowflake fairies” who chant in rhymes and sing in high-pitched voices. One of them is underdog Gossamer, a Spirit Seeker whose delicate wings impede her ability to sing high and clear, thereby preventing her from calling for help when threatened by Joy Robbers, who want the Secret Snowflake to weaken and die. Gossamer flies to Meriden, Connecticut, where she discovers a pure, noble boy named Eddie. He makes her wings stronger with his breath, thus rendering her voice more powerful. With the help of Eddie and other creatures, Gossamer makes a successful trip to the Secret Snowflake, waging a great battle along the way. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to ascertain the appropriate audience for this book; the story contains a level of abstraction that younger children may not be able to fully grasp, as well as a large cast of characters and a complex storyline. There’s also far too much reliance on exposition, particularly in the first few pages, which don’t quickly hook readers with action and dialogue. The amount of text on each page is substantial and some young readers may find this daunting. Some of the illustrations, however, are lovely and colorful, and nicely support the text. The story ends on a strong note: Eddie’s wish is unexpectedly wise, and there’s a final, delightful, and surprising twist.

A story that may be most successful as a spirited, animated read-aloud.

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-7017-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2015

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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