cover image Willow and the Snow Day Dance

Willow and the Snow Day Dance

Denise Brennan-Nelson, illus. by Cyd Moore, Sleeping Bear, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58536-522-7

In this feel-good follow-up to Willow (2008), the vivacious girl moves into a new neighborhood, across the street from an unsmiling loner. Mr. Larch only communicates through signs he posts in winter "that made it clear to the neighborhood kids there would be no sledding on his hill." Brimming with details, Moore's cheerful pictures capture Willow's outsize personality as, with Pollyanna-like enthusiasm, she launches projects that bring the neighborhood together. She asks for donations of seeds to plant a garden and, when it blooms, brings bouquets to her neighbors, "even Mr. Larch." She then gives vegetables away to those donating mittens and hats to her school's charity drive. After she distributes letters asking for wintertime assistance ("I'm in need of snow! Can you help?"), one anonymous response provides whimsical instructions for encouraging snow to fall. The story is on the oversweet side (the lack of snow is Willow's sole problem), and Moore provides a few visual hints that Willow's actions are having a warming effect on Mr. Larch. When snow arrives, he is the first one to sled down his hill. Ages 6–10. (Feb.)