cover image In the Snow

In the Snow

Huy Voun Lee. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-3172-0

As Xiao Ming and his mother walk through the winter forest, the fresh snow-white and smooth as paper-inspires an educational game. While his mother scratches Chinese characters with a stick, Xiao Ming guesses what the symbols represent. Through careful teaching, the mother links characters and words so that they make sense to a child. For example, ``forest'' is comprised of two characters for ``tree.'' And the symbol for ``snow'' combines ``hand'' beneath ``rain''-signifying a form of rain that can be held. Focusing on 10 words, Lee (At the Beach) introduces an often daunting language as a tantalizing system built on images and common-sense connections. Thoughtfully composed cut-paper collages convey the same clarity as the text. An author's note explains that, while over 800 Chinese dialects exist, the written language is uniform. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)