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SWinter

The Magical Snowman
by Catherine Walters and Alison Edgson
(Little Tiger Press)
Little Rabbit – like many young children, has not yet lost that belief in magical beings, so firmly asserts that his snowman is real. When he goes off in search berries some juicy berries for the family’s tea, another, sudden fall of snow causes him to lose his bearings and find himself in what seems, a strange alien world. It’s then when his belief in his magical snowman friend is rewarded for who should come to his rescue but that smiling, sparkling snowman ready and waiting to carry him safely home to a very anxious Daddy Rabbit.
The snowman really does sparkle in the captivating illustrations of this gentle story.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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One Winter’s Night
by Claire Freedman and Simon Mendez
(Little Tiger Press)
The wild animals are hiding in the midst of a winter blizzard, hungry and cold in their dens. Fox peeps out into the chill but he’s not alone that night – a starving badger is there asking for food; Fox feels compelled to share his meagre supplies. He’s not the only animal to help badger that night though; seemingly the chill has not reached the hearts of the woodland creatures who unite in their kindness for their troubled friend. Next morning though Badger is nowhere to be seen, the friends look and wonder but then they come upon a heart-warming message from him – a message to remember:
In every caring thing you do,
The love you give comes back to you.

Simon Mendez’s almost photographic, detailed illustrations of the animals in their natural landscape really do capture both the chill of the outside and the tender care and concern on the inside of the creatures portrayed.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Where Snowflakes Fall
by Claire Freedman and Tina Macnaughton
(Little Tiger Press)
Wild animals in their natural landscapes are portrayed in lyrical words and paintings of a brand new day in an icy world - an icy world of Snow leopards, hungry puffins, tumbling polar bears, gliding whales, lively lemmings, majestic mountain caribou deer, Arctic foxes, soaring snow geese and more. The day unfolds, shadows fall and once more, the stars appear as a snowy owl soars and swoops below the magical Northern Lights.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Ooo, ooo, ooo, Gorilla!
by Lydia Monks
(Egmont)
When Gorilla comes to stay with a small boy and his family, all the ‘ooo ooo ooos’ indicate that he likes it. He certainly likes the welcome meal, the sleeping arrangements and the prospect of snow. But when it comes to a day of snowy activities – skiing, ice-skating and building a snowman, Gorilla’s ‘ooos’ take on a different note, till finally his friend boy finds something that they are both good at. Then those pitiful ‘ooos’ turn into ‘hoos’ and ‘hahahs’.
   A funny story, narrated by the boy host using playful language with lots of potential for joining in by young listeners. This combined with the bright, cheery, slightly wacky mixed media illustrations make for a certain winner
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Magic Sky
by Lucy Richards
(Egmont)
There are ‘five more bedtimes’ before young Rory bear can stay up late to see the ‘magic sky’. In the meantime there’s fishing, wood collecting, sledging, exploring and learning to swim. When the eagerly awaited day dawns, Rory is so excited he just cannot wait for the magic evening sky to come - he just has to go to find it … All ends happily however, with Rory and family watching the magical Northern lights together.
   Despite the chilly, snowy landscapes there is a feeling of warmth to the pastel illustrations and an extra touch of magic in the sparkling, plastic-coated depiction of the Northern Lights. The accompanying CD doesn't just tell the story with musical accompaniment. It also contains songs and action games that are highly suitable for under fives, either at home or school.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Diamond in the Snow
by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Vanessa Cabban
(Walker Books)
A diamond in the snow - that's what Mole is convinced he's found when he takes a walk having emerged from his burrow to find the woods covered in a thick white blanket. But when he tries to take it home, the diamond disappears and his friends find him sad and empty handed. Hedgehog, Squirrel and Rabbit are unconvinced by his story until Mole shows them where he found his treasure. Looking up into the branches of the tree, they see hundreds of diamonds hanging there in the freezing cold and when the sun sets, the bejewelled tree truly sparkles and they are all entranced by the magical sight.
Something of the awe and wonder - that silence, stillness and sheer beauty of a pristine landscape - is captured in this enchanting winter's tale for young listeners and readers.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Tiger in the Snow!
by Nick Butterworth
(Harper Collins)
At first it seems that none of his friends want to join Tiger the kitten for some snowy fun, but then he discovers something sticking up out of the snow - something that might just do as a sledge. Before long it's not just Tiger who is whizzing down the hill at top speed; he seems to have acquired a few hangers on as well. Young audiences will enjoy Tiger's inventiveness and the pull-out pages in this cleverly paced story. The large bold print will make it an inviting read for those ready to go solo.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Snow Friends
by M Christina Butler, illustrated by Tina Macnaughton
( Little Tiger Press)
Little Bear awakes from his winter sleep to find a snow-covered landscape. Excitedly he dashes out to play; but, rolling, skidding, racing, stomping and stamping, making circling, twirling paw prints are not much fun without a playmate. Then Little Bear has a brainwave - he'll build himself his very own snowman friend. By the end of the day, he not only has the best snowman ever but has found other friends to play with; friends who will be there even when the snow has long gone.
   There's an added tactile sparkle to this story: the snowman has a silvery glittery finish.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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First Snow
by Bernette Ford, illustrated by Sebastien Braun
(Boxer Books)
One dark winter night snow falls covering the meadow beneath which Bunny and his brothers and sisters snuggle together safe and warm. Then all of a sudden Bunny wakes and creeps outside followed by his siblings and together they discover the delights and dangers of that 'cold first snow'.
    Soft watercolours perfectly convey the chilly wintry, moonlit landscapes of the meadow in this story that is a delight to read aloud.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Winter Garden
by Ruth Brown
(Andersen Press)
One chilly night various animals visit a moonlit garden - fox, rat, cat and birds, all intent on finding food. Next morning a small boy walking in his snow-clad garden is able to discern its nocturnal visitors, for all have left footprints on the soft white landscape. A brief text that imparts, in just a couple of sentences, several natural history lessons, lessons that are also glowingly depicted in Ruth Brown's chacteristically realistic paintings.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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I Wish
by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Ivan Bates
(Doubleday)
One morning Cubby, a small red squirrel, wishes that his big sister would play outside with him. Finally she is ready and so begins a whole chain of wishes. All of Cubby's wishes come true on that cold winter's day but what about Clementine's wish - a wish for snow? That might mean waiting just a little longer.
    A gentle reassuring story about wishing, positive thinking and being patient beautifully told and amusingly illustrated. A great one to share with under sixes.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Wild Girl
by Chris Wormell
(Jonathan Cape)
A lovely chilly, wintry tale of a small girl - a wild girl - who lives in a cave in the wilderness with only a small, flea infested brown dog for company. One freezing day the pair return after collecting firewood, to discover tracks in the snow: big, bear tracks going in the direction of the cave, but no bear - not then at any rate. That night, however, girl and dog come face to face with a great mournful looking bear and so begins an unlikely relationship with not one, but two bears - wonderfully warm companions for a wide wilderness cave in the depths of winter.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Little Daughter of the Snow
by Shena Guild, illustrated by Tom Bower
( Frances Lincoln)
Abridged by Rodney Kennard from Arthur Ransome's Old Peter's Russian Tales, this longish story tells of an old Russian man and woman who long for a child. As they watch the village children playing in the snow, they decide to make their own child, a little snow girl. That same evening the little snow girl comes to life but issues a warning to her erstwhile parents. Little Daughter of the Snow is not like normal children though; she stays outside all day and all night and eats only ice porridge. One day she goes missing and is eventually returned by a kindly fox who requests a plump hen in return. The couple trick the fox and so there is a price to pay: like snow itself, the little snow girl cannot stay forever, there is another place that calls to her.
    Wonderfully dramatic oil paintings in folk art style, mostly in shades of brown, blue and red, strike an eerie and sombre mood. Particularly chilling is the spread depicting the snow girl and grey wolf in the forest.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Dragon Snatcher
by M.P.Robertson
( Frances Lincoln)
This, the third tale of George and his exciting 'dragonish' adventures is set in the depths of winter. As snow lays deep outside his home, George is warmly nestled in his storybook pages - till he is disturbed by his dragon outside. Soon, clinging to the dragon's back, he is whisked by the North Wind to a faraway dark castle standing amid icy wastes. Therein dwells an ice-hearted wizard, one who is plotting to steal every last dragon egg; a plot George must attempt to foil.
   George has something of a young Harry Potter look about him and the final aerial view, as he sits on the dragon's back, of the land that is ' neither Here nor There ' with its snowy castle turrets, is truly vertiginous.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Sea Mice and the Stars
by Kenneth Steven, illustrated by Louise Ho
( Little Tiger Press)
As snow falls gently the sky is filled with shooting lights. The shower of falling stars are ' pieces of magic' sent to keep the sea mice safe;' to guide us back through storm and snow' so says Uncle Trumble to the mouse children. But that mouse family has an important job: they must gather all the fallen stars and distribute them to the other villages - one for every home. That same night they set off into the snow: Will they accomplish their mission - to find every last star - and get back before the storm strikes?
   Light is a powerful universal symbol, and is especially important in the short days of winter but even so, many of us never have the experience of real dark. This story with a sparkling image on every page, is a lovely one to share with under 6s during those darker times; maybe they can try to imagine being out in the forest with only the stars to guide them.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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