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PreS-Gr 3–Home on her winter vacation, Stella Mae Culpepper surveys the scene from her second-floor window overlooking the square below. She spies her many neighbors, none of whom seem to interact with one another. Then, following a heavy snowstorm, she ventures to a park across the street and begins rolling a snowball. Surprisingly, she is soon joined by her fellow residents, all of whom participate in the snow sculpting. Each one has a different interpretation of what they are jointly creating. Readers familiar with children's literature will recognize the characters' references to Ferdinand the Bull, Babar, and Baba Yaga. Stella Mae distills the suggestions and “triumphantly” calls the sculpture, “Ferdinand Ganesh, the Jazzy Dancing Baba Feng Shui Elephant-Mouse.” Outdoors for the rest of the day, the celebrating neighbors interact eating latkes and tacos with cider, enjoying music, and dancing by candlelight. Sullivan's friendly storytelling is accompanied by pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations that are reminiscent of Quentin Blake's style. Sullivan outlines elements using narrow black lines and tucks in small details. Along with giving the characters even more personality, the artwork nicely defines the setting. This pleasant story would be a worthy choice for libraries needing picture books with a message about cooperation and being neighborly.–Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OHα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
While there are many books about building friendships, this one celebrates the creation of a community. Initially, the neighbors of Stella Mae Culpepper keep to themselves, listening to their own music, riding their bikes, and playing with their dogs. And Stella remains aloof, too, as an observer. But a snowstorm brings them all out at once, first to wonder at Stella’s snow sculpture creation and then to join in, adding unique features including horns and dancing feet. Ultimately, they create Ferdinand Ganesh, the Jazzy Dancing Baba Feng Shui Elephant-Mouse, a reflection of their varied cultures and interests and whimsical enough to delight all readers. Sullivan’s watercolor illustrations, which leave plenty of white space on the page, are lively and fluid, with few straight lines outlining soft colors. The cartoonlike humans are more realized by their actions than their features, but the text and illustrations individualize them all, showing their unique interests. A glossary at the conclusion explains many of the musical terms interspersed in the text, along with cultural references. Move over, Frosty, more imaginative snow sculptures are on the way. Preschool-Grade 1. --Edie ChingSee all Editorial Reviews