cover image When Winter Comes

When Winter Comes

Nancy Van Laan. Atheneum Books, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-81778-6

Winter's first snowflakes have arrived, and as they dance to earth with the lingering autumn leaves, a bundled-up family and their pet Scottie head outdoors to celebrate the world being transformed. ""Where oh where do the leaves all go/ when winter comes and the cold winds blow?"" begins Van Laan's (So Say the Little Monkeys) poetic text. Similarly phrased questionsDall with this lilting refrainDprompt a variety of rhyming answers. Caterpillars, for instance, retreat ""Inside their cocoons,/ so tightly wound,/ waiting for spring/ to bring green to the ground."" Even the family's red-cheeked child has a cozy haven from the ever-deepening snow in ""a warm, warm bed/ .../ snuggling deep, fast asleep."" Gaber (Pierre's Dream) uses a textured, antique-looking background for her wintry skies with a hint of holly berry-red and pine-green shades, and frames her nature scenes from a variety of viewpoints. Her characters' bright faces and vibrant outer vestments offer warm relief from the frigid winter scenery. Ages 2-7. (Oct.)