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INTO THE SNOW by Yuki Kaneko Kirkus Star


by Yuki Kaneko ; illustrated by Masamitsu Saito

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-59270-188-9
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

A child narrates a day spent playing in the snow in this collaboration between a Japanese-American author and Japanese illustrator.

From the very first sentence—“It’s snowing!”—Kaneko nails the unbridled excitement of a preschooler who wakes up to snowfall. Saito captures the child from the rear, his smudgy illustration offering readers a view dominated by one spectacular case of bed head, hair spiking every which way in a visual reinforcement of the child’s glee. Per Mommy’s instruction (“bundle up and have fun”), the child plunges into the snow with a yellow plastic sled. Each declarative sentence encapsulates the child’s simple, unfeigned wonder: “The snow is light and fluffy”; “Look! I’ve found an icicle.” The child weathers an unexpected spin on the sled but proclaims, “I’m all right.” The wind picks up; the child goes back inside for a cup of hot chocolate with Mommy. Working with oil pastels, gouache, acrylics, and colored pencil, Saito creates tableaux characterized by thick, soft lines, comfortably rounded shapes, and warm colors—there’s hardly a hint of black or gray, and soft blobs of pink suggest cherry blossoms, further sweetening the mood. This child is not Peter on an urban odyssey; the adventure appears to take place entirely within the confines of the child’s backyard. Though Mommy is nearby, she gives the child, who has recognizably East Asian features, space for delicious independence.

Thrillingly cozy.

(Picture book. 2-5)