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Snow Friends

Henry Holt/Macmillan
Ill. by Will Hillenbrand

Snow Friends

(eBook ISBN 9781250809742)

A charming winter picture book about friendship and dogs set against the perfect snowy day.


When boisterous pet dogs inadvertently play matchmaker for two children, a friendship is forged. Snow is falling. Oscar the dog is ready for Matt, the White boy he lives with, to take him on a walk. Matt promises to do so later, but Oscar runs off. At a pond thick with ice, he meets Daisy, another dog so excited to be outside that she runs from the brown-skinned girl who had been holding her leash. With the action often divided into panels to accelerate the book’s pace, the dogs run and play vigorously in the snow. When Matt—now out of the house, looking for Oscar—and the girl finally locate their pets, they become fast friends, like their two dogs. The story is a pet-centric one: The dogs take the focus, and they don’t have owners. Instead, Matt is referred to as “[Oscar’s] boy,” and Daisy yelps, “My girl!” as she licks the girl’s face. Dog lovers may get a kick out of the way in which the dialogue is written: The dogs’ barks are translated, if you will, into English: “Let’s ice-skate!” yelps Daisy, and “Let’s build an igloo!” barks Oscar (a task they accomplish with ease with neither tools nor thumbs). There is an infectious exuberance underlying the story, one communicated in the opening spread (“Snow! Snow! And more snow!”) with drifts of snow building around Oscar’s house as well as in the tireless, curious energy of the dogs. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.) A joyous, wintry read." – Kirkus Reviews

Cuyler and Hillenbrand (Please Say Please!) are back with another charming tale, this one about friendship forged on a winter day. One morning, Oscar awakens to find a blanket of freshly fallen snow outside. It is just waiting for him to decorate it with his paw prints. He can’t contain his excitement or wait for his boy to join him, so before long, Oscar is off on a solo snowy adventure. After playing on his own for a bit, he meets another dog, Daisy, and they become fast friends. What happens next is nothing short of winter magic. The new friends roll in the snow, dash around trees, create an ice dog, ice skate, and build an igloo. When their owners finally track them down, the dogs and their humans settle in together for some cozy fun inside the snowy structure. Soft and bright illustrations by Hillenbrand accompany the sweet and simple text, working in tandem to bring this story to life. VERDICT A heart-warming tale about friendship, recommended for libraries and homes everywhere. – School Library Journal

Third-person narration centers the perspective of butterscotch-colored corgi Oscar in this energetic winter adventure. When Oscar’s boy, Matt, a pale child with dust-colored hair, postpones his walk, the canine walks himself, exploring the snowy landscape as a dog does—chasing a rabbit, nabbing another dog’s ball—before meeting a gray floppy-eared pup named Daisy at an iced-over pond. After building a snow dog, ice skating, and erecting an igloo, the hounds smell Oscar’s boy and Daisy’s girl (who has brown skin and dark hair) nearby, and they are all united: snow friends. Hillenbrand’s cheery multimedia illustrations—created with, among other media, pencils, chalk, pastel, ink, "watercolor (with a melted snowball),” and collage—feature softly colored comics-style panels that will enhance readers’ enjoyment of the dialogue-heavy text. A seasonal read for doggy devotees. – Publishers Weekly

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