cover image SNOW BEARS


Martin Waddell, , illus. by Sarah Fox-Davies. . Candlewick, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1906-0

What has happened to Mommy Bear's children? It seems that a trio of playful, snow-covered creatures has replaced them. While Mommy has fun sliding and "snowballing" with these snowy three, she can't help wondering aloud concerning the whereabouts of her offspring. But the responses are always strikingly similar: "I don't know where we are," answers the oldest snow bear. "I haven't seen us," says the middle snow bear. "We aren't here, Mommy Bear," replies the youngest. Once inside Mommy Bear's snuggly cabin, however, the snow melts to reveal Mommy's missing cubs. While Fox-Davies's (Bat Loves the Night) delicate watercolor-and-ink pictures capture the stillness of a world blanketed in snow, her sweet-natured characterizations make the ursine family appear rather inert in the invigorating chill, tempering the book's frisky theme. But Waddell's (Webster J. Duck) economic prose keeps the story from becoming overly warm-hearted, and his keen ear for child-sized absurdity will strike a chord of recognition with any reader who has succumbed to a snowfall's invitation to play. Ages 3-6. (Jan.)