cover image NAMES FOR SNOW


Judi K. Beach, , illus. by Loretta Krupinski. . Hyperion, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-1937-9

In this poetic ode to snow, first-time children's book author Beach explores words that describe winter's white in all its guises ("Call it Prayer/ in its stillness—/ and Harmonica/ when it whistles through the trees"). Krupinski (Christmas in the City ) matches the lyrical writing with realistic images of a silent, snowy night, a driving blizzard over farmland and other serene country scenes. However, the border illustrations that frame many of the pages overshadow the timeless beauty of these landscapes. Set off by showy silver-trimmed borders, a family of cutesy bunnies cavorts in the snow, goes ice skating, roasts marshmallows and generally makes merry in a winter wonderland. Very young readers who enjoy the cheery antics of animal characters may delight in this wordless side story, but it could distract them from the poetry and the beauty of the natural scenes, which are too quiet to stand up to the attention-snatching rabbits. Some of Beach's words and themes ("Call it... Eyelet/ when it embroiders spruce./ .../ Call it Tradition/ when it comes on Christmas") will likely be hard for the bunny-loving crowd to grasp. Ages 2-5. (Nov.)