Waiting for Winter

Waiting for Winter

4.5 2
by Sebastian Meschenmoser

A thief steals the King's most precious treasure, but he gets more than he bargained for, in this lively retelling of a classic Korean tale.


A thief steals the King's most precious treasure, but he gets more than he bargained for, in this lively retelling of a classic Korean tale.

Editorial Reviews

David Barringer
In Waiting for Winter, the brilliant pencil work of the author and artist Sebastian Meschenmoser brings to sketchy, scratchy life a charming, idiosyncratic character. Squirrel is as unkempt and uncombed as a parent on Sunday morning, but as innocently impulsive as a child bouncing on the bed…These creatures are not slickly cute but refreshingly sympathetic. They do not ask to be admired. They look as if they need a hairbrush—and a cup of hot chocolate.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Like furry slapstick comedians, a squirrel, hedgehog and bear make one sweet goof after another as they look for the first snowflake of winter. Told that it will be “white and wet and cold and soft,” they put off hibernating and begin to search. Hedgehog holds up his discovery in triumph: it's a toothbrush (“Winter will be wonderful,” Hedgehog thinks, as the next page shows the animal delighting in a shower of white toothbrushes against an inky sky). Squirrel is convinced that a tin can is the first snowflake, and Bear appears with an old white sock. Meschenmosher (Learning to Fly) sketches freely on white pages in dark gray and sepia, drawing with casual grace and unerring comic instinct. Squirrel's reddish hair springs forth frenetically, Hedgehog's prickles look untidy and sleepy, and Bear's luxurious fur hangs over his eyebrows, making him look even grumpier. Giggles and guffaws will abound (three whole spreads are devoted to Squirrel and Hedgehog belting out sea shanties to keep themselves awake). The moment when the snow really does begin to fall is worth waiting for, too. A quiet, atmospheric and offbeat treasure. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
A squirrel, a hedgehog, and a bear who have never before seen winter eagerly await their first snowfall in this quiet, beautiful series of drawings by German artist Sebastian Meschenmoser. Waiting is dull and difficult, and each animal is mistaken in what he thinks winter will bring. Knowing only that snow is "white and wet and cold and soft," Hedgehog thinks he has found snow when he comes upon an abandoned toothbrush; Squirrel, when he finds an old can filled with water; Bear, when he finds one smelly sock, but of course, snow turns out to be more wonderful than any of them could have imagined. The story is told primarily in Meschenmoser's soft, scribbly drawings, in a subdued palette of black, white, gray, and brown, with each illustration contributing important details to the unfolding anticipation. Be sure to continue on to the endpapers for the amusing conclusion of this charming winter vigil. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
Children's Literature - Summer Whiting
Winter is about to arrive. Squirrel is waiting to see snow for the first time. Although he usually stays inside during the cold months, this year he is determined to see snow firsthand. He is intrigued by Deer's lovely description of snow as being "wet and cold and soft." Squirrel waits. And waits. He concludes that because waiting for snow is quite boring, he must keep himself awake so that he does not miss the arrival of the first snowfall. He begins to exercise. Hedgehog thinks that he would also like to see snow, but exercise is not for him. So they begin to sing. In the midst of the music, Bear lumbers out into the cold, curious about the bedlam disturbing the quietness of winter. He, too, decides that he shall wait for the snow. The animals move about the forest, picking up a toothbrush, a tin can and a smelly sock. Each of these things fits Deer's description of snow as being "wet and cold and soft"! Squirrel, Hedgehog and Bear argue about who has actually found the first flake. Abruptly, a snowflake lands on Bear's nose. Eyes wide, the animals realize the magnitude of what has occurred. Flake after flake falls on this cold winter's night. The animals embrace the beauty of winter and the gentleness of a fresh snowfall. The book's illustrations are remarkable and brilliant; the wordless pages will prove to be a favorite amongst readers. A must-have for any child's library. Reviewer: Summer Whiting
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Deer nonchalantly mentions that, "Winter is almost here. I think it is going to snow." Since Squirrel has never seen it, he decides to forgo hibernation, and see what this "white and wet and cold and soft" substance looks like. He waits and waits and waits—but to no avail. He decides to do some exercises in order to stay awake, and along the way he wakes up Hedgehog. They wait and wait, but still no precipitation. Soon, their boredom-busting antics awaken Bear. Based on Deer's definition, each animal finds what he thinks is snow, but readers will know that they're wrong, and will be as delighted as Squirrel, Hedgehog, and Bear when the real flakes begin to fall. One minor quibble with the text and pictures not meshing completely is when Squirrel puts an old tin can on his head, thinking it matches the description of snow, when the picture of the can is clearly shown in shades of gray, not white. The illustrations are deftly drawn in colored pencils, complete with sketching lines that give the renderings depth and maturity. The addition of broadly stroked hues of azure paint when the snow arrives will startle and delight young readers as it makes the white space of the page really come to life. This is a beautiful title to share with children on a lap or with a small group.—Lisa Gangemi Kropp, Half Hollow Hills Community Library, Dix Hills, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Squirrel usually sleeps through winter, "[b]ut not this year!" The rumpled red squirrel is determined to see snow-but waiting gets pretty boring. Fresh air and exercise help, as does the companionship of Hedgehog, with whom he sings sea shanties, and Bear, who helps them look for snow. Meschenmoser's minimalist text provides just enough support for his laugh-out-loud illustrations, rendered in swift, penciled lines on creamy white space. Squirrel's red coat provides a spot of color against the autumnal grays and sepias used to sketch out the trees and the other animals. He packs a wealth of expression into each animal's face without venturing into heavy anthropomorphism. Readers will howl at the animals' mistaken notions of snow, and they'll sigh with satisfaction at the just-cozy-enough end. A perfect marriage of words and pictures. (Picture book. 4-10)

Product Details

Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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Waiting for Winter 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a picture book that will make your child laugh out loud, this fits the bill. The animals, who usually hibernate during winter, have never seen snow, and they come up with some silly ideas of what it might look like while they are waiting for it -- ideas that will tickle the funny bone of any 3-6 year old. The scruffy-looking illustrations are unusual and add to the joviality of the book. Not your typical slick, colorful picturebook -- just funny illustrations and an oddball situation. Nice find.
AJandM More than 1 year ago
This wonderfully creative book made me and my 4 yr old nephew laugh out loud. The story and pictures are delightful.