Is That You, Winter?
Stephen Gammell. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201415-5
Forget those icy-looking fellows like Jack Frost. In Caldecott Medalist Gammell's (Song and Dance Man) latest addition to his unforgettable cast of characters, Old Man Winter is a crotchety mountain man sporting a ten-gallon hat, L.L. Bean rubber boots and a bushy white mustache. He wakes up late and grumpy one morning in his rickety log cabin, which is perched precariously on a mountaintop, and climbs aboard his ramshackle truck to deliver snow, ice and blustery wind around the world. And just when he begins to wonder whom he does it all for, a snow-loving girl comes along to show Old Man Winter just how special he is. Gammell's text alternates between short bursts of bold, black hand-lettering that denotes dialogue (""Why do I always have to go to work?"") and typeset prose that moves the fantasy forward (""High above,/ Winter lets loose/ his icy blast""). In full-bleed, double-page spreads, the artist's trademark rainbow of gauzy lines, splatters and swirls of paint create a dreamy, winter wonderland backdrop for his spunky and memorable starring character. Children in bright stocking caps, parkas and mittens decorate and warm the landscape, and, for young fans, Old Man winter may just replace Jack Frost as the season's mascot. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997