cover image SNOW DAY!


Patricia Lakin, , illus. by Scott Nash. . Dial, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2642-0

Although this exuberant book should probably come with a disclaimer—"Kids, don't try this at home"—there's no denying that Sam, Pam, Will and Jill, a quartet of anthropomorphized crocodile children, have hit on an ingenious way to take full advantage of a new snowfall. Posing as principals (they even put on dressy clothes to get in the right frame of mind), they call the local news station and declare a snow day. "All schools are closed!" announces the staff of Croc-O News. "Wheee!" exult Sam, Pam, Will and Jill, a few pages later. "And they sledded and sledded all day." Lakin's (Don't Forget) text is a model of comic economy, using simple vocabulary ("principal" is the only three-syllable word in the entire book) and repetition to create an ebullient, punchy rhythm. Nash's (Over the Moon) gouache-and-pencil pictures, often divided into panels to show simultaneous action among the four protagonists, giddily chronicle the events leading up to the principal ploy: the flurry of phone calls among the friends, the donning of appropriate snow gear, the crushing realization that school presents a formidable obstacle to their sledding. His crocodiles are nearly identical, but therein lies much of the dizzy humor—every emotion is multiplied times four. Even the typography seems just right, with large, sans-serif letters underscoring the staccato pacing. A seamless work of storytelling about a classic snow job. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)