Review: A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin (9780316478366)

This follow-up to the award-winning A Big Mooncake for Little Star focuses on wintry weather. Little Snow is given a great big bed by his mother, perfect for jumping on! His mother tells him not to bounce on it though and just sleep on it. But Little Snow just can’t resist bouncing and jumping a little bit. When he jumps, feathers fall out of the big bed and drift down. Little Snow does sometimes get a bit more excited and then jumps so hard that the bed bursts open and a lot of feathers come out. By the end of the winter, the bed is entirely empty, just a shell of what it once was.

In the same playful way as the first book, Lin captures a natural phenomenon with a gentle joy. Both books have the attentive mother, who sets rules which are broken by the children. But in both instances, the mothers are fully aware of what is actually happening and the tone is one of merry acceptance rather than frustration.

The illustrations here show exactly what is happening long before the larger reveal of snow falling on earth. The bed is shaped like a large blue cloud and the snowflakes on everyone’s clothes make it very clear as well. The use of the white background with the clothing that disappears into it is beautifully done, offering a magical border-free feel.

Another winner from the multi-talented Lin. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Two Little Pirates

Two Little Pirates by Ruth Paul

I must preface this review by saying that this is a book from New Zealand, so it’s not available in the US.  I received it from the author and publisher, Scholastic New Zealand.  Ruth Paul’s books are available in Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand.

In rhyming couplets, this book follows two little pirates who attack the King and the Queen.  They are actually two little boys who pounce on their sleeping parents dressed as pirates.  After a brief battle, the parents prevail and the two pirates are hung over the edge of the ship to become shark bait.  When they beg to be released, the King and Queen agree on one condition: that they tidy up the mess they made.  When that is accomplished, they have a nice snack in bed and then everyone cuddles up and dozes as the bed sails off.

Paul keeps a wonderful balance between imaginary play and reality in this title.  At all times, the ship which is the bed is surrounded by water, until the children have finally given up their pirate roles and become children again.  Additionally, the parents respond with great delight to their young pirates and the attack.  The battle is merrily fought, the capture and punishment is doled out in character, and the snack and cuddles conclude.  What a great way to spend a lazy morning together!

Paul’s art is bright and friendly.  She revels in the play along with the family, enjoying the different angles that the bed can be viewed in throughout.  Done in watercolor and colored pencil, the art has a great clarity of line and depth of color.

This is one pirate bed that is definitely worth sailing on.  Children will revel in the story though parents should be braced for a morning invasion after reading it.  Parents should also be open to snacks in bed, crumbs and all.  But who could resist if it ends with cuddles and a snooze?  Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.