cover image Snow Family: Snow Family, the

Snow Family: Snow Family, the

Daniel Kirk. Hyperion Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0304-0

With their rotund white bodies, coal eyes and carrot noses, this strange tale's nine ""snow children"" don't look like classic fairies. Yet they behave like forest imps, making mischief in the winter woods and enticing a human boy named Jacob to play their dangerous games. Unlike the snow-child gang, Jacob has a family; awkward rhymes describe his loving relationship with them (""His mother tightens Jacob's scarf./ She gives his cheek a pat,/ and a kiss upon his little nose,/ just like that!""). So, after the icy delinquents irritate a bear and endanger Jacob's life, the boy builds frosty, friendly parents to keep them in line. Although the powerful sweetness of the poetry is compromised by clumsy syntax, the flawlessly finished paintings have an authority that the writing lacks. Kirk's (Hush, Little Alien) laundry-bright whites and fresh colors dazzle the eye in every spread. Yet the artwork's sheer precision leaves a sliver of ice where this book's heart should be. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)