Shulevitz (The Secret Room, 1993, etc.) implies that there is much to be said for youthful hope amid all the dour nay-saying from adults. Here, early flakes hold out the promise to a boy and his dog of the season's first snowfall, and prompt elders to pooh-pooh any chance of accumulation. As if by force of will, aided and abetted by the mysteries of nature--and despite radio and TV forecasts to the contrary--the flakes keep coming, swirling, dusting, covering. Finally, the town is draped in an encompassing cloak of snow; a number of storybook characters (that had been images on the facade of a children's bookstore) break into a winter dance with the young boy, giving the hook a pleasantly fantastical turn. The small town European setting is the sort that Shulevitz does best: evocative, timeless, and as irresistible as the first snow.