cover image Grandmother Winter

Grandmother Winter

Phyllis Root. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-88399-0

Root (Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones), no stranger to folktales, takes her inspiration for the title character from a German fairy tale figure, Mother Holle. Beginning in the spring, this wisp of a tale traces the heroine and her ""snow-white flock"" of geese through the four seasons. The prose gently foreshadows the closing spreads; in summer, for instance, Grandmother Winter gathers the goose feathers, ""soft as snowflakes,/ bright as a winter moon."" First-time illustrator Krommes supplies the meat of the volume with visual hints at what's to come. In an autumnal spread, her scratchboard illustration depicts the protagonist embroidering a quilt of snowflake designs--no two alike--while russet and golden leaves tumble in through the window. As the woman shakes out her downy masterpiece, the flakes begin to fall, sending nature's creatures scurrying for cover. Krommes portrays a painted turtle burying itself in the muddy floor of a pond and bull snakes snugly coiled beneath the ground, before closing with scenes of children and Grandmother Winter herself tucked into their beds. A cozy mood-setter that will help children to welcome the winter weather. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)