One warm winter, Martin MacGregor obsessively waits for snow. If he sees three marshmallows in his hot chocolate, he can't resist arranging them in a snowman shape. As he grows impatient, he glues cotton balls to the family pet ("Presenting... Sadie the snow dog!") and parades before his mother's book club covered in bubble-bath foam: " `Look, everybody, a snowman!' he announced.... The bubbles began to slide downward at an alarmingly quick pace." Cook's children's debut humorously conveys the intensity of longing for something elusive; she styles Martin as a suffering artist who (until the last moment) works in everything but his desired medium. When his art teacher tells him he has "captured the true essence of a snowman" in a painting, he cries in frustration, "The essence of a snowman is snow!" and tears the paper into white flakes ("Martin MacGregor waited for snow in the principal's office"). McCauley (The Lima Bean Monster) emphasizes Martin's enduring hopes by picturing him in a knit cap and puffy white ski jacket, no matter how sunny the weather. In tempestuous watercolors, which feature sinuous curves, explosive diagonals and dark, choppy outlines reminiscent of linocuts, Martin always has a calculating, not to say maniacal, gleam in his eyes. Thanks to an early spring blizzard, he finally channels his pent-up energy into snowman-building. Cook and McCauley invent a single-minded, sympathetic hero with determination to spare. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The title character of this goofy, entertaining read is single-minded in his quest to build the perfect snowman. Trouble is, there is no snow that winter. Martin tries other media, including shaving cream, mashed potatoes, bubble bath and flour, but ends up with messesplus trips to his cooling-off chair, his room or the principal's office. Cook's depiction of a kid with a serious passion is dead-on; Martin wants only to realize his dream, and he can't understand why everyone gets so worked up about his failures. McCauley's mixed-media illustrations are cartoonish in the best sense of the world, calling to mind offbeat `toons like "Dexter's Laboratory" and "Invader Zim." Readers might recognize McCauley's work from two Jon Scieszka books, Viking It And Liking It and See You Later, Gladiator. (Too bad the book jacket misspells Scieszka's first name, though. You would think they would be more likely to mess up his last name.) 2003, Walker & Company, Ages 4 to 8.
PreS-Gr 3-Martin dreams of building a snowman, but the weather refuses to cooperate. As the winter months pass with hardly a flake, he tries to use available resources to fulfill his creative needs. He dumps a bag of flour over his syrup-sticky sister to make a snow baby, and glues cotton balls to his pet to fashion a snow dog. Then he turns himself into a snow boy during a bubble bath; he just manages to greet his mother's book club before his foam covering unexpectedly slips away to reveal "Martin in his nothingness." After this series of misguided ideas, an April blizzard finally closes school and provides him with the opportunity to build to his heart's content. In May, a bathing-suit-clad Martin stares out at the rain, daydreaming about swimming and sand castles. Repeated plot elements and refrains give the story an evenly measured pace, allowing the humor to build with each passing month. McCauley's crisp mixed-media illustrations are irresistible. From the tartan endpapers (a pattern repeated on Martin's wool hat) to the breed of his dog (a Scottish terrier) to the snowflake patterns that are subtly incorporated into the scenery, amusing details reflect and extend the story. With irregularly shaped heads and elongated necks, the characters have a stylized appearance, and Martin's perfectly round eyes are punctuated by thick eyebrows that change their angle according to his mood. A fun choice for snow dreamers.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Martin MacGregor, obsessed with making a snowman, is having a rough snowless winter. Lack of the white stuff forces him to think of other inventive, if not preposterous, ways of building his wintry creation. Martin tries everything from using marshmallows in his hot chocolate, spilling a bag of flour over his baby sister, gluing cotton balls on the dog's fur, and even coming down to greet his mom's book-club ladies in the buff, but completely covered with bubble-bath soap suds. Each attempt only succeeds in earning Martin another punishment from his exasperated parents. April brings a surprise snowstorm, allowing Martin to jubilantly create an entire snow family. Martin's disregard for the results of his outlandish snow substitutions will have kids groaning and giggling simultaneously with each ridiculous scenario. Mixed-media on watercolor paper add to the absurdity, with cartoon-style drawings stressing Martin's fiendish and somewhat devilish mood. Complementary first and last double-page spreads illustrate Martin's contemplative thoughts. What will Martin substitute for sand castles as he waits for the spring rains to stop? (Picture book. 3-5)