cover image Snow Party

Snow Party

Harriet Ziefert, , illus. by Mark Jones. . Blue Apple, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-934706-28-2

When the first snow of the year coincides with winter solstice, it's a magical convergence so powerful that snow people come from far and wide to celebrate. “Hooray for winter! Hooray for snow!” cheers the crowd in a lantern-lit forest clearing, and by the time the last page is turned, even kids in the Sunbelt will be cheering as well. In his picture book debut, Jones provides an emotional and fantasy counterpoint to the quiet intensity of Ziefert's (Who Said Moo? ) reportorial text. Jones takes full advantage of the book's horizontal format, varying his perspectives and infusing his pictures with a sense of bustle and plenty of detail (note the snow chef carving blocks of ice). He confers individuality upon the members of the snow people community—quite an accomplishment considering that all his characters have facial features fashioned from coal and carrots, and three-snowball bodies. Jones also adds a soupçon of delicious eeriness: the chill in the air, the normally immobile characters' shared sense of purpose, the allure of communal ritual—all these things become palpable. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)