Once Upon a Winter Day

Liza Woodruff. Holiday House/Ferguson, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4099-3
Milo wants a story, but his busy mother sends him to play in the snow instead. Miffed, he starts following a set of tiny mouse tracks beneath the bird feeder. As he picks up clues (a feather, a fish’s skeleton), asks questions (“Who had dug beneath the snow?”), and knits together his observations, he makes up a tale all on his own. And he’s not the only storyteller out there: the observant mouse responsible for the tracks is the protagonist of its own exciting drama—it must get a juicy red winterberry home without being eaten by a hawk. Woodruff’s (A Quieter Story) spare, evocative text (“A cold wind crept beneath Milo’s scarf”) quietly amplifies her expansive watercolor, pen-and-ink, and colored pencil drawings, which alternate between highly distilled snowy scenes and lushly detailed spreads; in one scene, the mouse scampers past a closely packed herd of velvety brown deer foraging for acorns. It’s a richly narrative landscape—one that should inspire readers to venture outside and notice stories of their own. Ages 4–8. Agent: Andrea Cascardi, Transatlantic Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/01/2020
Release date: 11/17/2020
Genre: Children's
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