cover image Snow on Snow on Snow

Snow on Snow on Snow

Cheryl Chapman. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1456-4

Taking her inspiration from Christina Rossetti's ``In the Bleak Midwinter''-and its lines ``Snow had fallen, snow on snow,/ Snow on snow''-Chapman (Pass the Fritters, Critters) experiments with word repetition in her otherwise sparse story. A boy awakens on a winter day ``under blankets under blankets under blankets'' and heads off to find his friends ``on sleds beside sleds beside sleds.'' The dog, Clancy, vanishes ``into the snow into the wind into the air,'' but rest assured that all ends ``happily ever after ever after ever after.'' The language games work primarily as a curiosity and seem geared to an audience younger than that suggested. Saint James's (Tukama Tootles the Flute) dashing illustrations in bright blocks of oil paint maintain the leanness of the text while adding a certain zip. Compositions are clean and boldly graphic, introducing minimally defined figures in colorful snowsuits against a white background. The artwork adds depth to the text; the words linger in the stillness of the illustrations, their echo reverberating down the hill with the sleds. A deceptively simple, patently attractive book. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)