From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3–A gentle picture book created as tribute to the victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. In his dedication, Kellogg expresses his hope that this book “celebrates the laughter, the playful high spirits, and the uniqueness of the children of Sandy Hook and of children everywhere.” And indeed, the image of falling snowflakes–“Flake/After flake/After flake/Each one a pattern/All its own–/No two the same–/All beautiful”–makes an affecting metaphor. MacLachlan's lyrical and understated poem describes snowflakes swirling “together/Like the voices of children” to blanket backyards and sleeping gardens, rolling countryside, and the town's familiar sites. Though a nighttime storm may bring shadows that “darken dreams,” morning always comes again, revealing a shining world and the opportunity to play outdoors. In springtime, “when the flowers bloom/The children remember the snowflakes/And we remember the children–/No two the same–/All beautiful.” Throughout, Kellogg's paintings dazzle with brightly clad kids joyfully romping through winter scenes. As flowers bloom, some of the youngsters dance into a still-snowy sky, and the back endpaper shows a row of 20 snow angels taking flight from a moonlit hillside and soaring into the heavens. Accentuating the rebirth found in nature's cycle, text and images depict the process of healing and renewal, the comfort of memory, and the power of hope. Adults can share this book to address tragic events, discuss grief and the recovery process, and remind children of the precious beauty of life.–Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journalα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* This peaceful offering begins on the endpapers with a happy scene of children peeking-out amid flowers and trees. As the eye pans across the spread, the seasons change—autumn leaves, then snowflakes, float down. The book begins its powerful meditation on the cycle of life. Readers will savor the beautifully paced descriptions as well as the delightful panoramas of children playing in the snow. Together, the poem and evocative watercolors tug at deeper emotions. Even as MacLachlan describes the flakes—Each one a pattern / All its own— / No two the same— / All beautiful—readers intuit she is also celebrating the children. In the extended metaphor, icy flakes strike the window pane in the dark, causing fright, but the morning promises to be brilliant. When rain, as it must in nature, washes the snow away, it helps summer flowers grow. Youngsters are left with joyful memories of snow angels and winter fun. This is a graceful homage to the inevitable seasons of life and remembrances of loved ones and times past. Whether or not they are familiar with loss and grief, children will feel the healing power of this hopeful, uplifiting book. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: These stellar talents were moved to create this book by the events in Connecticut and have dedicated it to the communities in Newtown. Preschool-Grade 2. --Jeanne McDermott