LOIS EHLERT has created many celebrated picture books inspired by the world around her. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Only an artist as gifted as Ehlert (Nuts to You!) could take so well-worn a topic as building a snowman and make it as fresh as-well, new-fallen snow. Her faultless sense of design immediately engages the reader: tidy white circles dot the gray backgrounds of her collages; cut-paper birds show off their hand-painted wings; and an offscreen narrator exhibits a sackful of ``good stuff''-birdseed, peanuts, corn kernels, etc.-accumulated in anticipation of the ``perfect snowball day.'' Soon the narrator and invisible colleagues have constructed a whole family of snow people and their pets. Each member of the snow family receives a full spread, to be viewed vertically, and each is decorated with ``good stuff.'' Birds (and squirrels) can feast upon some of the adornments; and bright textiles (a Bolivian hat, a Guatemalan purse) imaginatively intermingle with stones, twigs and such prosaic items as a luggage tag and a claim check. Factual information about snow is included as well as a spread featuring photos of 13 snow creations. Even jacket space is not wasted-the flap has a recipe for popcorn balls, while the back cover features a selection of snowy newspaper forecasts. A joyful and inventive book just brimming with its own ``good stuff.'' Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
PreS-Gr 2‘Ehlert once again displays the innovative collage style that so vividly celebrated spring and summer in Growing Vegetable Soup (1990) and Planting a Rainbow (1988), and autumn in Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (1991) and Nuts to You! (1993, all Harcourt). Here, she puts a creative twist on one of the favorite traditions of winter‘building a snowman, or, in this case, a snow family, including pets. Children who believe snowmen must have charcoal eyes and carrot noses will be inspired by the unique adornments, for each creation here is decorated with the narrator's cache of ``good stuff in a sack.'' Mom's hair is a Guatemalan belt; boy's nose is a toy compass; baby's arms are plastic picnic forks; dog's spots are a collection of buttons. As in the previous books, bold, rhyming text describes the simple pleasures of the season. The contrasting sensations of the crisp iciness and dreary isolation of winter are effectively created by placing the colorfully decorated white figures against a textured gray background on double-page vertical spreads. The background glows bright orange as the sun appears. Ehlert concludes her book with some winter facts, photographs of snowmen, and a recipe for popcorn balls. Another spectacular effort.‘Kathy Piehl, Mankato State University, MN
star "Only an artist as gifted as Ehlert could take so well-worn a topic as building a snowman and make it as fresh as--well, new-fallen snow. . . . A joyful and inventive book."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) pointer "There is a generous spirit to this jolly, unassuming book. . . . The whole package is fun to look at, fun to read, and fun to share."--Kirkus Reviews (pointer review)