cover image SNOW MUSIC


Lynne Rae Perkins, . . HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-623956-9

Using subtle patterns of shapes, color and onomatopoeic sounds, Perkins (The Broken Cat ) invokes multiple experiences and layers of meaning in this complex, imaginative picture book. A scene depicted inside a snow globe on the jacket appears to become the story's setting; in the final illustration, the globe sits on a shelf between a toy car and squirrel (both of which play a role in the story). Waking up after a snowfall, a boy accidentally lets his dog out of the house, then spends the day searching for him. Into this arc Perkins weaves separate, complete moments. For example, one spread shows a gray squirrel and its criss-crossing pawprints on the right, while on the left, lines of type mimic the haphazard pattern of the creature's path: "I think—/ I think/ I left it—/ I think/ I left it/ here—/ somewhere... / I think." Elsewhere Perkins spectacularly recreates the music of a winter's day: the dog, against a solid white background, runs off to the right; on the left, the canine's tags (and his exhalations) are pictured as notes on a musical staff, "jingle huff jingle huff." A car drives by ("poot poot poot poot poot..."); a leaf hits the pavement ("K-tk"); snow falls (the repeated word "peth" cascades down the page, contained in dozens of multihued blue circles). Although the intricate structure (abrupt transitions and multiple shifts in perspective) may make this story challenging for youngest readers, the sophistication of Perkins's melodic, rhythmic and visual orchestration merits attention from older readers. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)