cover image The Snow Speaks

The Snow Speaks

Nancy White Carlstrom. Little Brown and Company, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-316-12861-2

The magic qualities of winter's first snow find a voice in Carlstrom's ( Baby-O ; Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? ) latest picture book. From their window two children marvel at the flakes beginning to fall outdoors. They suit up and head out to play in the winter wonderland. Whether the snow is crunching under boots, blowing before the plow, holding the impressions of animal tracks and angel shapes or shining in the moonlight--it speaks volumes to the children who have ``wise and patient'' eyes. Carlstrom's lofty text reflects the mystical properties of snow, though some of her poetic language and the lack of a strong plot line may put off younger readers. Dyer's ( Talking Like the Rain ; Piggins ) watercolors skillfully straddle the worlds of fantasy and reality by picturing ``buttoned, hooded, zipped and mittened'' children flapping out snow angels on the ground, as well as snowflakes in the shape of feathers, or icy, ghostlike figures dancing in the woods. The broad range of color, shape and perspective here also helps avert a boring sameness. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)