Whose Woods These Are...: When It Snows by Richard Collingridge
WHEN IT SNOWS... ALL THE CARS AND TRUCKS AND TRAINS DISAPPEAR.
SO I FOLLOW THE FOOTPRINTS UNTIL I FIND A NEW WAY TO GET AROUND.
A young boy, bundled up and taking his Teddy out to explore the snow, wonders at the drifted-over shapes that have turned all those vehicles into immobile mounds of white. Then he spots some unknown but intriguing footprints on the city sidewalks and begins to follow.
Thus far, Richard Collingridge's lovely When It Snows (Feiwel & Friends, 2013) might be just a cityscaped reconceptualization of Ezra Jack Keats' classic The Snowy Day, as a young child experiences the wondrous changes of a first snowfall.
But when this boy follows those mysterious footprints into unknown territory, we know we're not in Kansas anymore. This is a wholly different snow scene, as the source of the tracks turns out to be a polar bear who gives the boy a ride to a place where a very tall snowman beckons, and a bright light leads him into a dark evergreen forest. And there he meets the Queen of the Poles, sumptuously robed in regal furs, who brings forth such sights as glowing fairies, a multitude of elves, and a team of giant reindeer who cluster around a rather familiar-looking sleigh.
Is it that this boy possesses great powers of imagination, or could this place already exist, somewhere contained within a familiar cover? Lest kids wonder how to access this winter wonderland, the answer lies in an ending which may not surprise adults reading aloud but may be a revelation of sorts for youngsters. Collingridge's illustrations allow the eye to luxuriate in the loveliness of soft snowfall, the coziness of the child's own room at last, and plenty of room for dreaming of winter-time adventures.
Publishers Weekly puts it glowingly, "Newcomer Collingridge’s paintings are sumptuous and absorbing, creating a genuine sense of magic."