Snow has been falling all night, and when a small rabbit awakens, he learns that kindergarten is closed, his mother can't go to the store, and his father's flight home has been canceled. "Mommy, we are all alone in the world," he announces solemnly, and even though he's clearly safe and sound in an apartment with all the modern comforts, readers will understand his bittersweet feelings of isolation and solitude. Sakai (Emily's Balloon) takes a very different approach in these pages: focusing more on setting and mood than characterization, she turns each illustration into a vivid snapshot (Mommy on the phone with stranded Daddy, an outdoor hug before the dash back indoors). Against a palette of grays and muted colors, she uses the yellow of the rabbit's jacket or boots to focus the reader's gaze, and layers the paints to suggest the intimacy and coziness of the hearth, the eerie but irresistible starkness of a landscape transformed by snow. Ages 3-5. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
A five-year-old (rabbit) awakes one morning to discover that there will be no school, no daddy flying home today, and no going out outside-until the snow stops. Sakai clearly understands the predicament of being cooped up in an urban high rise: trying to stay entertained with games, constantly gazing out the window, being lured by the balcony. Her subdued palette and minimalist text suggest the blanketed sound produced by a heavy snowfall. Window-shaped frames with tight cropping contain the energy in the interior scenes; most exterior compositions bleed off the page-oh marvelous freedom! The layers of paint are applied to a black ground with a combination of wet and dry brushes, producing a convincing depth and texture; the darkness is a perfect foil for the cottony bright snowflakes. While the mother may appear overprotective about her bunny's health, she does relent when the snow stops, even though it is bedtime, and the pair enjoys a nocturnal adventure. The protagonist narrates in the first person; thus, the sentences are appropriately concise, yet with lovely rhythms and interesting details. (He ultimately makes snowballs and snow dumplings.) Atmospheric, tender, full of anticipation and satisfaction, this one will charm young children. In Leonid Gore's Danny's First Snow (S & S, 2007), a young rabbit, possessed of an active imagination, is encountering white creatures at every turn. Used together, the two books provide contrasting emotional and visual experiences of a universally beloved phenomenon (at least by young rabbits/children).-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library