Sunday, September 13, 2009

Waiting for Winter

I've had this book on my desk for awhile, wanting to write the review, but then hesitating. It's important for me to do a good job of conveying exactly wonderful this one is. Really, I think this is one of the very best children's books of the year. The illustrations are glorious and the writing is darn funny.

Squirrel (on the cover) hears from Deer that winter is nearly here and that snow will be coming soon. Squirrel has never before seen snow and decides this will be the year he does. All he needs to do is stay awake instead of hibernating and he will be sure to see the first snow of the season. Waiting ... waiting ... waiting is boring. And being bored makes Squirrel sleepy. To keep from drifting off, Squirrel darts around rapidly on his tree. His scrabbling wakes Hedgehog, who decides to join his friend in his snow quest.

To keep themselves awake, the pair decide to sing sea shanties. Their boisterous singing wakes Bear, who looks none too happy. Nevertheless, Bear agrees to help them keep watch. Deer told Squirrel that the snow would be "White and wet and cold and soft." In turn, each friend finds an item lying in the forest that partially fits the description: a toothbrush, a tin can and a dirty sock. These pages are hilarious, where each animal imagines their item falling in clusters from the sky. Just as the friends are feeling discouraged and very tired, the very first snowflakes start falling.

Beautiful, amazing illustrations make this book a joy to read. Several of the pages are devoid of words, but the drawings can definitely stand on their own, which is hardly the case with most books. This is a terrific mix of humor, lovable characters and gorgeous art! I wholeheartedly recommend this - I hope you'll love it as much as we do.

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