It's almost Christmas and it hasn't snowed yet. As the farmer naps on his small farm, he dreams of being covered in a gentle blanket of new snow. Then, one by one, he dreams of each of his five animals (aptly named One, Two, Three, Four, and Five) being covered as well. When he awakens, he discovers that real snow--not dream snow--has fallen. And "Oh my! Oh my! I almost forgot," the farmer shouts, and, bundling up, hurries out to his tree (named Tree) with a box and a sack, looking remarkably familiar in his white beard and red suit. After decorating Tree, the farmer shouts "Merry Christmas to all!" and pushes a button for a surprise Yuletide jingle.
Young fans of Eric Carle's The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, and other multisensory books, will delight in pushing the same microchip button the farmer pushes to hear the tinkling, oddly eerie holiday tune. In an even more unusual departure from standard picture books, Carle inserts a clear plastic sheet, covered with snowflakes and a white blanket, before each illustration of the dreaming farmer and his animals. Turn the plastic page to discover what kind of critter lies beneath the snow. Carle's magnificent collages, as always, are the heart and soul of his books. (Ages 3 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
Ages 2-6. Visual and musical gimmicks enhance Carle's signature bright, textured collages in this holiday-cum-counting story. A white-bearded farmer lives the simple life with a few animals that he names One through Five. Children don't find out which number matches which animal, though, until they follow the farmer through a visually clever dream. "It's almost Christmas, and it hasn't snowed yet," says the farmer. But as he sleeps, he envisions snow falling, covering each of his animals, while the text counts along--"The snowflakes gently covered One with a blanket"---a plastic sheet printed with snow overlays each page, concealing the collage images until readers lift the page and discover that One is a horse, Two is a cow, etc. Dream becomes reality when the farmer awakes to a white world and hurries outside (dressed in Santa coat and boots) with presents for the animals and ornaments for a tree that, thanks to a changeable battery pack, plays a chiming tune at the press of a button. Although this is more an exercise than a story, Carle fans and toddlers learning the basics will still enjoy the gentle text and creative design features. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved