cover image THE SNOW GHOSTS


Leo Landry, . . Houghton, $9.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-618-19655-5

This small-sized picture book reads like the notebook of a pint-sized anthropologist who visits a wintry fairyland. Each turn of the page offers readers another observation about the snow ghosts, accompanied by serene, cartoon-like watercolors framed with spare lines and a thick white border. "Every morning, when they wake up, the snow ghosts exercise. Up, down, up, down." The illustration indicates subtle vertical movement and smiley faces as snowflakes fall. At night, they "lay their ghostly heads on their icy beds"; their elongated necks stretch in from the right side of the pictures' frame. In between, the snow ghosts have snowball fights ("No one gets hit") and "try to catch snowflakes on their little ghostly tongues"; the appealing snow ghost's tiny red tongue is one of the few colors outside of the predominantly blue-and-white palette. Newcomer Landry's tone is quiet, his humor understated. (On Wednesdays, when the protagonists make snowmen to put on display, "Prizes are awarded.") Looking like marshmallow gumdrops, roughly the size of a thumbprint, the snow ghosts possess a fanciful charm. Portraits of the protagonists wearing sunglasses on sunny days or unsuccessfully attempting to entice polar bears to play with them conjure the magic and whimsy of a fresh snowfall. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)