Waiting for Winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser
As my son waited for the bus this morning, he asked when the snow was going to come. Here in Wisconsin in mid-November that is a very good question and the answer is “very soon.”
In this charmer of a picture book, Squirrel is told by Deer that it is going to snow. Squirrel hasn’t seen snow before, so he decides to wait for it. Deer explains that snow is “White and wet and cold and soft.” But it is very hard to stay awake, so Squirrel runs up and down the tree trunk. The noise wakes Hedgehog who agrees that he wants to see snow too. The two of them stay awake by singing – sea shanties. This wakes up Bear who waits with them for the snow. But what is snow has already arrived and they haven’t recognized it? So the three look around for items that match Deer’s description of snow with very funny results. In the end, they learn exactly what snow looks like.
Meschenmoser excels at telling a story through few words and wonderfully evocative illustrations. Just the appearance of the animals themselves shows how very tired they are. The close-up of Bear’s face after he is woken up perfectly captures the grumpiness and bleariness of that moment. All of the animals are wonderfully scruffy and real. Hedgehog always has leaves and other objects stuck in his spines, and Squirrels wild fur carries a lot of his frantic pace even when still.
The voice of the book is also right on the mark. Told with great excitement and delight, the tone conveys their wonder at being able to see snow even before they have caught a single glimpse of it. Meschenmoser’s pacing also works very well, filled with just enough tension but also forward movement.
A perfect choice for this time of year when snow would be met with cheers and joy by all of us who are waiting for winter. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy received from publisher.