I’m delighted with all the great winter-themed books available. I also really like blue and white, which might explain why I find so many of the covers from winter books appealing. Today, I want to discuss two board books that are set during winter. Let’s Play in the Snow, by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram (Candlewick, $6.99), and Old Bear and His Cub, by Olivier Dunrea (Philomel Books, $6.99), provide two more excuses to cuddle up with your own little hare or cub.
In Let’s Play in the Snow, you’ll recognize Big Nutbrown hare and Little Nutbrown hare, from McBratney and Jeram’s well-known book, Guess How Much I Love You. One of the most notable features of this book is the cover , which is dusted with silver glitter, giving it a tactile component for little hands. In this story, the duo is back, playing “I spy” in the winter forest. The game starts with pairings: “I spy something that belongs to” a tree, a spider, bird, and a river. Little Nutbrown hare ups the ante when he spies “something that belongs to me”. A bit too abstract, he offers this hint: “but only when the sun comes out”. Big Nutbrown hare, mildly competitive if you remember from the first book, also spies something “that belongs to me” and, “It’s little . . . It’s nutbrown . . . It’s my favorite thing . . . And it can hop”. Little Nutbrown hare knows, “It’s me!”
Old Bear and His Cub also contains an intrepid duo and is relatively new in board book format. Old Bear and Little Cub venture out to explore the snow. Little Cub is daring, as little cubs often are, but all it takes is a long, silent look from Old Bear to keep Little Cub out of harm’s way. The book takes a cute turn, when Old Bear starts exhibiting signs of a winter cold and Little Cub doles out some of his own long, silent looks. Little Cub and Old Bear will do what it takes to keep the other one safe, happy, and healthy. When I first read this story a few years ago, I assumed that Old Bear was Little Cub’s grandfather. In a new prequel, entitled Little Cub (Philomel, $16.99), we learn that they are not related and discover how Old Bear and Little Cub first find each other. This new information puts another spin on these stories; they are excellent adoption books.