A BIG BED FOR LITTLE SNOW
By Grace Lin
The mother and son in Lin’s gorgeous winter fable seem to float against a pure white background, making her soft illustrations look both precise and ethereal. Little Snow, who wears snowflake pajamas, gets a new featherbed. Whenever his mother leaves the room, he jumps on it, until one day it rips, sending feathers flying. A page turn reveals that his feathers are snowflakes, falling on a twilit city block. In an apartment building’s windows are delightful cameos from other pajama-clad children: Little Star, from Lin’s “A Big Mooncake for Little Star,” and Peter from “The Snowy Day.”
40 pp. Little, Brown. $18.99. (Ages 4 to 8.)
MY WINTER CITY
Written by James Gladstone.
Illustrated by Gary Clement.
This lovely tribute to urban wintertime is oversize, and Clement’s cheerful watercolor art takes full advantage. Expansive snowy scenes seem not just stirring but intimate. A kid, his dad and their dog happily brave a downfall to go sledding across town. In Gladstone’s poetic text, the boy notes the “windows gone all steamy” on the bus, the “wilderness of footprints, crisscrossing, disappearing” on the sidewalks, the “light powder pillows” when they make snow angels. Observant little ones can pore over these pages for a long time, noticing each well-observed detail of wintertime city life.
40 pp. Groundwood/House of Anansi. $19.95. (Ages 4 to 8.)
BEAR IS AWAKE!
An Alphabet Story
BY Hannah E. Harrison
A girl and a bear star in Harrison’s (“My Friend Maggie”) tale that doubles as an alphabet book, letting even pre-readers follow the alphabetical story through the buoyant, expressive illustrations. A “big bear” wakes up in the middle of winter, leaves her den and shows up at a “cozy cabin,” where a ponytailed girl is annoyed, then inspired to take the bear into town to figure out how to help the creature get back to hibernation. (First stop: the library.) The final page has no words, just a proud look on the girl’s face: mission accomplished.
40 pp. Dial. $17.99. (Ages 3 to 6.)
I AM POLAR BEAR
Written by J. Patrick Lewis.
Illustrated by Miriam Nerlove.
Modest in size, this brilliant book nonetheless captures the majesty of the polar bear. Lewis, a former children’s poet laureate, has the creature tell us what he’s called in different cultures, from the Inuit (“I am Nanuk”) to the Sami, who “refuse to speak my name for fear of offending me.” Nerlove’s shimmering illustrations hop effortlessly between styles of dress and the shades of white in the polar bear’s fur and habitat. The devastating ending shows the polar bear adrift on a shrinking bit of ice, “losing hold.” It’s wonderful to see a call for cross-cultural respect that also demonstrates, heartbreakingly, the interwoven lives of humans and an imposing yet utterly vulnerable species.
32 pp. Creative Editions. $18.99. (Ages 4 to 8.)
SNOW FOR EVERYONE!
Written by Antonie Schneider.
Illustrated by Pei-Yu Chang.
“It rarely snows in Jerusalem,” as Schneider’s lovely parable notes. When it does, children of all faiths celebrate. But after one snowfall, three kids draw lines claiming the snow, and try to get more from one another when it begins to melt. They consult a rabbi, an imam and a priest. All agree that like any mystery, it’s hard to hold on to, yet “there is enough snow for everyone.” Chang’s illustrations convey the gravity and touch of whimsy packed into this hopeful little story.
32 pp. NorthSouth. $17.95. (Ages 4 to 8.)
Written by April Jones Prince.
Illustrated by Christine Davenier.
A girl gets to ride on her dad’s giant snowplow in this delightful rhyming tale. They race through the heavy snow, but it’s not clear where they’re going until they arrive at the airport, where her mother is waiting. Prince’s (“What Do Wheels Do All Day?”) text is intriguingly spare, letting Davenier’s (“The First Thing My Mama Told Me”) softly exuberant wintertime scenes shine.
40 pp. Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House. $18.99. (Ages 3 to 6.)
SNOW LEOPARD: Ghost of the Mountains
Written by Justin Anderson.
Illustrated by Patrick Benson.
A zoologist treks through the Himalayas in search of a snow leopard — so elusive, she’s called “the gray ghost” — in this thrilling and informative book that fleshes out a quest story with facts. (Did you know scientists call the marks animals leave “pee-mails”?) Benson’s pale illustrations perfectly capture the vastness of the landscape and the incongruous beauty of felines in the snow.
32 pp. Candlewick. $16.99. (Ages 4 to 8.)
By Lynne Rae Perkins
The Newbery medalist Perkins (“Criss Cross”) spins a warm and thought-provoking tale about making mistakes, making things right and moving on. It’s a snowy night and Thomas, a round, furry brown fellow, is miserable because he has misplaced the basket of dried fruit he needs to make wintercake. His bird friend Lucy overhears a dark-furred creature say he has it. In fact he’s on his way to return it to Thomas — “I jumped to conclusions!” she laments, before they make it up to the “noble chap” by giving him the wintercake. As always, Perkins’s words and illustrations radiate generosity of spirit.
40 pp. Greenwillow/HarperCollins. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8.)
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