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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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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