Eileen Spinelli, THREE PEBBLES AND A SONGEilee. , $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2528-7

Schindler (One Witch, Children's Forecasts, Aug. 4) offers some of his most striking work to date in this well-crafted book. Winter is coming, and Moses the mouse is supposed to follow the example of his parents and older sister, who are combing the landscape for supplies. "We need food. Warm things for the nest. Gathering's best," they tell Moses in the book's refrain—and it certainly seems like there is little else to do. Schindler's gorgeously foreboding mixed-media spreads depict a world already ravaged by wind and cold, with colorless husks of corn scattered on the ground and threatening clouds gathering in the slate-gray sky. But the exuberant Moses occupies a world of his own. He dances with swirling leaves and learns to juggle the glistening pebbles he finds in the creek. He throws back his head to sing and hum "a whistle-y song," echoing the wind, writes Spinelli (When Mama Comes Home Tonight), as it "shicka-whished through the papery stalks of corn." When the long winter sets in, the family has food and warmth but—they're utterly bored ("Bored to tears," cries Moses's sister). Moses teaches them to sing, dance and juggle, and they so joyfully embrace their own creativity that only Moses detects spring's arrival. This wonderful story, told with a restrained and elegantly detailed aesthetic, may start out looking like a variation on "The Grasshopper and the Ant." But ultimately it offers a wise lesson all its own, celebrating art's powers to invigorate and to sustain. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)