ALL YOU NEED FOR A SNOWMAN

Alice Schertle, Author, Barbara Lavallee, Illustrator, Tamson Weston, Editor , illus. by Barbara Lavallee. Harcourt/Silver Whistle $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-15-200789-8

While this deceptively simple book starring children building a snowman is ultimately about community—how human beings, no matter how small, can help each other create something bigger than themselves—youngsters will find the lilting language and action-filled illustrations to be just plain fun. Schertle's (How Now, Brown Cow?) text deftly describes what goes into making a snowman: "Billions of snowflakes/ piled in a mound,/ pat them/ and pack them/ and roll them/ around/ into one big ball." Her refrain—"That's all you need for a snowman. Except..."—encourages readers to turn the page for each new component. The watercolors, meanwhile, feature children in padded winter jackets who work together. As in childhood, the snowman looms larger than life. As they roll that "one big ball," for example, the children appear to be hugging the edge of a snow-white planet. They place saucer-size bottle caps on the snowman's face—"Surprise!/ Snowman's eyes!"—and add a broom taller than a house. The completed snowman is so huge that the book needs to be turned sideways to view it. Lavallee's illustrations, in the style of her work in Mama, Do You Love Me?, emphasize the children's profiles, shadowing one half of each face as if each character possessed both light and dark skin. A wintertime treat. Ages 2-5. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/21/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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