Snowflake in My Pocket
written by Rachel Bright; illustrated by Yu Rong
2017 (Kane Miller)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
But a bear can never be exactly sure when the weather will change. He just knows that it will.
A wise bear and a young squirrel share an old oak tree. Bear provides the wisdom while Squirrel brings the enthusiasm. Squirrel's first winter is coming up, so he's full of questions. He's excited about the snow that Bear knows is coming. Like Christmas morning excited. When Squirrel wakes up, he looks out the window and the woods are wrapped in a blanket of frozen goodness. A circle cut-out juxtaposes Squirrel's joy against the beautiful background. Unfortunately, his best friend Bear has a cold, so Squirrel will have to go outside without him. With making snow angels, snow bears, and embracing winter with a newcomer's unbridled zeal, it's almost the perfect day. How to make it perfect? Catch a snowflake and bring it home to Bear. An enchanting illustration shows Squirrel looking up in the sky against a snow scene in the shape of a bear. It only took this old man three tries to see this in the book. Squirrel finds a satisfying snowflake and starts homeward. But when he reaches into his pocket, it's gone. Again, the author and illustrator make the reader work for it, which is great from a teacher's perspective. The text is silent in regards to Squirrel's emotion, but when you look at the illustration, you see it all. I love when this synchronicity takes place. Being a wise Bear, he tells Squirrel that "snow comes and snow goes, but one thing lasts forever." This is where, after you reach for a Kleenex, you close the book and ask your students what the one thing is. There is great thinking to be had in Snowflake in My Pocket.
Rachel Bright and Yu Rong are very intentional with their text and illustrations. Yes, it's a sweet story with a winning partnership, but there are deeper things going on here and if you're willing to dig, you and your class of readers will be rewarded.