Night Flight: The Snowman and the Snowdog
"COME ON!" CRIED BILLY TO HIS DOG. "WERE HERE! LET'S EXPLORE OUR NEW HOME!"
BUT BILLY'S DOG WAS OLD AND TIRED. HE BECAME SLOWER AND SLOWER, AND THEN ONE DAY HE DIED.
Billy's first days in his new house are sad, but as winter sets in, he explores the old house by himself, still missing his dog. Then, one day, he finds a loose floorboard, and underneath it a shoebox with some intriguing contents--a worn and floppy green hat, some lumps of coal, and a shriveled tangerine. It's a mystery, but when Billy wakes to find a deep snowfall outside, he immediately sees what to do with his find.
Outside Billy builds a snowman, placing the old hat on his head, wrapping the scarf around his neck, giving him a big smile and buttons with the lumps of coal, and placing a new tangerine in place for his nose. Then Billy has an inspiration. He shapes a snowdog, just like his own dog, to stand beside the snowman and keep him company.
Around midnight, Billy is wakened by a familiar bark and looks out his window.
SOMETHING MAGICAL HAD HAPPENED.
SNOWMAN AND SNOWDOG CAME ALIVE!
The Snowman lifts Billy and Snowdog in his arms and suddenly they are flying through the midnight blue sky, filled with stars and then with a host of soaring snowmen! Billy is dizzy with the thrill of it all. At the North Pole, he meets Santa, who gives him a special gift.
Back home again, Billy can hardly speak, but he whispers that he wishes the Snowman and Snowdog could stay with him. Then he remembers Santa's present and opens it to find a dog collar. He puts it around Snowdog's neck.
"THERE, JUST LIKE A REAL DOG," HE SAID.
AND WHERE THE SNOWDOG HAD BEEN... STOOD A REAL DOG, HIS TAIL WAGGING.
With the approval of Raymond Briggs, creator of the original 1982 The Snowman, this new companion book, The Snowman and the Snowdog (Random House, 2014) captures some of the magic of Brigg's classic, with the addition of the sure-fire kid-pleasing elements of a Christmas puppy and a visit to Santa's North Pole workshop. Artists Hilary Audus and Joanna Harrison create the look of Brigg's Snowman nearly perfectly, but as a whole the work does not quite match the charm and wry visual humor of the wordless original. To see Brigg's boy putting the Snowman to bed in his family's chest-type freezer or the Snowman fanning himself in front of the family fridge to cool off, make sure that the original is "read" first in tandem with this sequel. Not to be missed is the award-winning video of Brigg's book, Aardman: The Snowman, and there is also a new DVD of the companion book, The Snowman and The Snowdog.
Together, these books and videos make for happy holiday giving, and for go-with stocking stuffers, there are also the plush toy tie-ins, The Snowman Plush Toy and The Snowman Snowdog Soft Toy.
For more, um, "frosty" snowman fun, don't miss Caralyn Buehner's and Mark Teague's best-selling snowy series, Snowmen at Night, Snowmen at Christmas, Snowmen at Play, and Snowmen at Work. Check out my cool reviews here.