‘When It Snows‘ by Richard Collingridge (published by David Fickling Books)
This book feels as though it’s been produced on a cinematic scale, with the young protagonist highlighting how the world at Christmas might appear to a small child. He sets off on a magical adventure one snowy day, riding on a polar bear until they reach the land where the snowmen live.
He then follows a light into the gloomy forest where the Queen of the Poles leads him yet through to see further delights, including thousands of elves, a giant reindeer and even Father Christmas himself.
The beauty of the story, however, lies in the ending, when it is revealed that the boy can inhabit these magical worlds whenever he likes because they are contained within his favourite book. What a wonderful message to send about books and reading at this time of year that is often associated with excess – you can give someone a single book and it’s as though you’ve given them a multitude of presents because it can transport them to so many different places in their imagination.
The illustrations in this book simply glow with festive light (which you can see even in my amateur photos – you can take my word for it that the effect is considerably more impressive in real life!) and it works well to only have minimal (though meaningful) text alongside them. I’ve recently begun to wonder how I would have interpreted the book if I’d seen it as a completely wordless book. Obviously the message about the amazingness contained within books might have come across differently, but I think the illustrations are just so outstanding that you could while away hours telling your own tales about each spread.
As with quite a few of the books I’ve reviewed in this Christmas marathon, the emphasis on the non-commercial side of Christmas is much appreciated here too. Books, as always, are helping us share this important message with C and H :)