Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Oh, What Fun...." Jingle Bells by Susan Jeffers

"Jingle Bells!"

Curious cows watch from the barn as a rosy-cheeked sister and brother hitch their white pony to a bright-green open sleigh. load up their little white terrier and a gaily wrapped present, and are soon off.

Dashing through the snow, they head out through the fields of snow, over hill and dale through the woods. But they are not alone as they leave their sleigh tracks behind in the hills.

A fox and then a rabbit spy on them as they pass, and the little terrier spots the rabbit, too, leaping from the sled to join the the chase with the fox until the bunny vanishes down his hole.

The kids stop their pony and clamber out to catch their runaway dog, as an otter in his white winter pelt slips into the pond and a snowy owl is startled out of his daytime nap, and a group of swans, also in winter white, momentarily corral the bouncy terrier. Where has that silly dog gone? The children drive on, just missing their pet with each page turn

And what do they see as a cozy cottage comes into view? Reindeer?

Who else can be visiting Grandma?

And inside they find Mr. and Mrs. Claus having tea and cookies, with the terrier already there on Santa's lap!

Oh, what fun!

There might be some presents for the kids as well, in Susan Jeffers' new artistic seasonal treat, Jingle Bells (Harper, 2017).  In her classic, old-fashioned paintings, done without a bit of digital media, Jeffers gives the youngest readers a taste of the joy of a sleigh ride through the winter woods, well portrayed with all the wildlife in their wintry garb along the way. She even adds a final touch, adding labeled thumbnail paintings of all the animals seen along the way in a double-page appendix. This newest holiday book joins Jeffers' evergreen Caldecott Honor book, The Nutcracker, her striking edition of The Twelve Days of Christmas, and her lovely version of Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.. All are lush and visually delightful, and this latest Christmas gift from a talented national treasure is a must-have for holiday collections for youngsters.

"A perfect choice for reading or singing on wintry nights, says Kirkus Reviews.

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