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Footprints in the Snow Hardcover – October 28, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 5—After finding only "nasty, scary, and greedy" wolves in his entire collection of books about these animals, Wolf sits down to write a story about a "NICE wolf." Mr. Nice Wolf wants nothing more than to be friends with the creature whose footprints in the snow he follows into the forest. However, the bunny, frog, and squirrel he meets along the way flee as quickly as they can. When he meets the animal he's been seeking, the story deepens and author Wolf falls into the ambivalent waters of appetite and intention, vision and artistic creation. Matsuoka's softly colored mixed-media illustrations buoy readers between Wolf and his tale throughout: at the edges of various pages, there are glimpses of Wolf's paws, pencils and pens, writing desk, and research material. Similarly, the arrangement of the text mimics the winding path of footprints Mr. Nice Wolf follows, creating a quiet visual continuity from beginning to end. Listeners will enjoy this story for its suspense and good humor, while older readers will find much to explore in the implications of Wolf's artistic adventure.—Bethany Isaacson, Wheaton Regional Library, Silver Spring, MD
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From Booklist

Wolf, tired of reading books about nasty, scary, greedy wolves, decides to pen his own story about a nice wolf. In the tale, Wolf follows footprints in the snow, hoping he can make a new friend. Rabbit and Frog don’t buy his line, and, sure enough, when Wolf realizes the footprints belong to fat, juicy Duck, he begins to salivate. Both plot and pictures then take a surprising turn, which will delight young readers. Replete with visual allusions to popular wolf stories, the folk art–style illustrations set up the scenario for thisstory-within-stories. The art also yields several opportunities for readers’ discoveries: the stuffed animals on Wolf’s shelf become the characters in his story, while the subtle placement of Wolf’s paw and pen make readers almost forget that they’re reading Wolf’s made-up tale. Indeed, Wolf himself seems to have become so involved in his story that he is startled by the turn of events. Left up to the imagination is the question of whether art imitates life or life imitates art. Pair with Emily Gravett’s Wolves (2006). Preschool-Grade 3. --Patricia Austin

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087925
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.4 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,799,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Children's librarians spend, I'd say, at least 2% of their lives reading pictures books (it'd be longer, but those puppies are blessedly short). And I suspect that reading that many of them does something to your brain. You notice patterns. You pick up on weirdnesses. And sometimes, once in a great big while, you crack. There is a kind of picture book out there (and I'm looking at YOU, Miss Spider) where a creature goes against its god-given normal instincts and goes from predator to silly happy friend. Even if you can't recall one off the top of your head I'm sure that you've seen those books where some poor carnivorous wretch is left bereft and alone because everyone assumes that they are going to eat them. Then, by the end of the story, the creature somehow proves itself to be a sweet and happy fellow; everything is sunshine and roses, la-di-da-di-da. Read enough of these and you find that you've been unconsciously tearing out the follicles on your head, one by one, in an effort to distract yourself from the pain of dealing with the book. Fortunately, there is a balm for your swollen noggin, and even better it's British. Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka manages to balance out the sweet with the knowing and in doing so comes up with a book faithful to the predator and honest with the prey.

Wolf's enjoying a nice snowy day inside, eating his milk and cookies, reading his books about wolves. Yet as he reads Wolf realizes something. Wolves in books have been getting a pretty bum rap. If they're not frightening boys who cry wolf then they're dressing up as grannies or swallowing live pigs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dena on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I love finding picture books that have it all: great artwork, imagination, humor, and originality.

Footprints in the Snow was a delightful surprise to read. My children and I both fell in love with the story and read it again and again. It is one of those books that I hope everyone reads and loves so that it will become a classic and stick around for a long time.

The artwork is fantastic. I loved how the illustrations depicted Wolf's artwork and you could see his pencil in the corner of the page, or a paw, or some other artistic tool.
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Format: Hardcover
Matsuoka, Mei. Footprints in the Snow. Henry Holt and Company. 2008, c2007.

A cute picture book about a wolf that loves to read books about wolves but soon tires of them all being about nasty wolves; therefore he decides to write his own story about a nice wolf. His story begins with a wolf discovering some tracks in the snow. He decides to follow them and soon is asking different animals if the tracks belong to them because he wants to become a friend; each animal is suspicious of his intentions. Finally, the wolf finds a duck that admits the tracks are his at which point the wolf realizes how tempting the duck looks to eat. Fortunately, the wolf who is writing the story suddenly wakes up in his bathtub and in an aside says to the reader, "Pheeew! I almost let my story end with Mr. Nice Wolf being just as bad as all the other wolves!" The wolf gets out of the bathtub and starts to dry himself off when he hears a knock at the door. He glances out the door but all he sees are tracks, "Hmmmm. I wonder whose those could be?" The inventive front inside cover pages show shelves of books including a few that are titled, for example "Lord of the Wolves" and "Romeo and Wolflette" while the back inside cover pages show one distinct set of tracks in the snow with the wolf prints on top, and the wolf disappearing off the page. The illustrations are charming, colorful, and filled with little amusing details: the wolf is wearing a polka dot bowtie, a mouse is dipping a crumb in the wolf's polka dot drinking cup, and the wolf has a yellow rubber ducky in his bathtub.
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By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on December 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
The wolf in this picture book is tired of reading books about wolves that are mean and nasty. He decides to write his own story about a nice wolf. He starts with a wolf discovering some tracks in the snow. He decides to follow them and soon he discovers animal in which the print might belong. He tries to be friendly but each animal is suspicious of his intentions. Finally, the wolf finds a duck that said the tracks are his. This is where the story has a twist because the duck starts to look VERY tasty to the wolf. Will be able to change his ways and make a good name for all the wolves out there/
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