Newtons Book News

Childrens Book Reviews

This Week’s Column

Wintertime Books

It’s winter and the season of snow and cold.  Here are some wonderful books celebrating this magical time of year.  All are picture books and are good for ages three to eight.

 

Small Walt and Mo the Tow, by Elizabeth Verdick, and wonderfully rendered in Prismacolor pencil and digitally colored by Marc Rosenthal, is a story about a snowplow and salt spreader truck, Walt, and his driver, Gus, and how they help the town and outskirts through a blizzard.  But it’s also about Mo, a tow truck, and driver, Sue, and how they help save the day by pulling a car out of the snowy ditch.  There is a delightful rhyming section found when either Walt and Gus or Mo and Sue talk.  The pictures and story hale back to a favorite classic, Katy and the Big Snow.  I’m betting this book, along with the first book, Small Walt, published in 2017, is destined to become a classic.

 

Got to Get to Bear’s!, by Brian Lies, has a big surprise waiting at the end of the story.  It begins with Izzy, a cute tiny chipmunk, who receives a letter from her friend Bear.  Bear asks if she could please come right away!  Izzy knows that it must be urgent because Bear never asks for anything.  She is worried about going to Bear’s house that is far away because it’s beginning to snow.  As the snowstorm turns into a blizzard, she meets other animal friends along the way who help her navigate through the blizzard.  And what’s waiting at Bear’s will surprise her and you!  The beautiful illustrations, painted with acrylic, are bold with hues of blue brown and in many instances fill the entire page.

 

Bear Can’t Sleep, by Karma Wilson, and painted with acrylic and hues of orange found on every page by Jane Chapman, is another story in a series of Bear Books by this duo.  Bear can’t get to sleep, and his animal friends discover this when he should be hibernating.  They come up with many relaxing aids to help lull him to sleep.  But nothing seems to work until a solution avails itself and Bear finally falls asleep. Every page is filled with vibrant color and adorably drawn animals.  This is a perfect story for bedtime.

 

Little Fox in the Snow, by Jonathan London, and divinely painted with watercolor and ink by Daniel Miyares, begins with a little fox in his cave of warmth.  But his hunger drives him out into the wild of the forest and the cold of the snow.  As he hunts, the beauty and reality of the forest surrounds him.  Eventually, he flees his search for food when he becomes another larger animal’s potential food.  He finds himself back in the safety of his warm den where he dreams of what could be in his future.  The lyrical tales slip into the winter day as you almost feel his paws on the cold surface.  This book is a beautiful read out loud.

 

Sometimes Rain, by Meg Fleming, and vividly illustrated with gouache watercolor by Diana Sudyka, lyrically explores and celebrates the wonders of the beauty of the seasons.  It seems that no matter the weather or season, there is great beauty to be found on this earth. “Sometimes dropping. Sometimes chill. Sometimes frosting every hill. Sometimes sledding. Frozen toes. Sometimes carrot. Sometimes nose”. The open page shows kids sledding down a steep hill where a snowman with a carrot nose greets them.

 

Henry and the Yeti, by Russell Ayto, takes Henry to the coldest tip-top mountains as he is determined to find a Yeti.  He has packed all the vital instruments needed to not get lost and to locate this Yeti that he is so positive exists.  He packed a compass, a telescope and even a camera to prove to all that they do exist. He’s bundled up for warmth and ready to carry a very large backpack to hold all his important equipment. What he discovers in the high mountains, and how he proves his discovery, will have readers rereading over again and again. The expansive background pallets change on every page which adds to the delightful cartoon line drawings of Henry and all he encounters.  This book is a delight!

 

I Am Actually a Penguin, by Sean Taylor, and brightly painted using mixed media by Kasia Matyjaszek, has an imaginative young girl becoming very excited when she opens a package and discovers a penguin outfit just for her. Her imagination goes wild when she puts it all on and begins to act, move and even try to eat the meat like a penguin. Her antics get her in trouble with her parents who find her sliding down the stairs like a penguin and attempting to wrap her furniture with fake snow (toilet paper). Just when she seems to be on the verge of becoming human again, her costume changes. This fun and funny story will bring smiles to all who enjoy imagination.

 

Goat’s Coat, by Tom Percival, and wonderfully illustrated with watercolor, pencil crayons and potatoes by Christine Pym, is a perfect story showcasing kindness and charity. Alfonzo, a cute little goat, just received a precious coat that he dearly loves. But as he goes about his day, he comes upon others in great need. He uses his coat that he dearly cherishes and quickly begins to take it apart to help others. By story’s end, his coat is completely gone, but the friends he helped makes him most happy. The text rhymes throughout making it a delight to read out loud.

 

Good Morning, Snowplow, by Deborah Brussels, and perfectly painted using acrylic paint, colored pencil, pen and collage by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson, is one of my favorite stories for this season. It celebrates all those workers who plow our snowy roads deep into the night while the rest of us sleep. A snowplow driver gets into his truck, along with his dog, and picks up his salt to spread on the roads, tests his truck to make sure all is ready as he prepares for the oncoming storm. The beauty of the illustrations shows large snowflakes falling on practically every page. When the driver is done for the night and day begins to break, you see snow everywhere and children playing in it as he heads home for rest. “School is cancelled. Playground covered. Bright new day to be discovered. Roads no longer buried deep. Good. Owning, snowplow….Time to sleep”.

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