Samson in the Snow

illus. by Philip C. Stead. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626721821.
RedReviewStarK-Gr 2—Samson the woolly mammoth is content with the company of his flowers. When a little red bird flies by, asking for some flowers for a friend whose favorite color is yellow, Samson wonders what having a pal would be like. As summer turns to winter, Samson, concerned about the bird's fate, decides that "it is better to walk than to worry" and sets out to find her. In the meantime he meets a mouse who is also in search of a friend, and together they rescue the bird, who has become trapped in the ice. The storm finally passes as the three newly united creatures trade stories of their adventures. Simple language is suitable for either read-alouds or independent reading. Although some text blocks are within illustrations, most are placed on light backgrounds, making all but one easy to read. As in the best picture books, the narrative is told in words and pictures. Two wordless spreads show the bird's predicament, while a third contrasts these starry white and blue winter scenes with a bright yellow summer one. Pencil-line animals stand out against highly textured backgrounds, and color is essential to the plot, as readers realize that the mouse—whose favorite color is yellow—is the friend for whom the bird originally sought flowers.
VERDICT This sweet tale of friendship deserves a place in every collection.

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