cover image IT'S SNOWING!


Olivier Dunrea, Author . FSG $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-39992-4

This quietly wondrous picture book exudes Dunrea's (Bear Noel) delight in revisiting two favorite themes: snowy landscapes and the rustic world of Moel Eyris, a mythical island featured in The Trow-Wife's Treasure and other titles. A peasant woman rocks her sleeping baby inside their cozy, earth-toned stone hut on a "dark dark, cold cold night." Gouache paintings rendered in the artist's precise, delicate hand bring to life a humble turret-like dwelling and its cheerful inhabitants, as well as an awe-inspiring natural beauty. Only touches of green and red in their clothing, a doll, herbs hanging from a beam, add color. But when Mama opens the door to an inky, snowflake-filled sky and excitedly sings, "It's snowing!" their world transforms. She bundles Baby in "thick, warm furs" for an outdoor adventure, and their foray into the flurry of white introduces Baby to the sight, smell, sound, taste and touch of snow. Sledding and snow-troll building round out an exuberant play session before the duo heads back to hearth and cradle. And although the closing scene echoes the opening view, readers can see the magical snow through the window, and the steam rising from Mama's teacup suggests a trace of their mystical experience. Dunrea's simple, poetic text with its gently repetitive pattern ("It's snowing!... Baby, see the snow!") conveys the immediacy of this family's joyful wintry excursion. (One small quibble: Mama appears to lob Baby into the sky at the line "Baby flies into the air.") A scene depicting mother and child tobogganing, Mama's green scarf streaming out behind them, against a backdrop of black night, will leave readers longing for a visit from Jack Frost. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)