Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Friend in Need: Dot in the Snow by Corinne Averiss

Miki wanted Mom to play in the snow, not fish on the ice.

Snow was soft, and fishing looked hard. Miki wasn't reading to dive.

Mom is busy with grown-up stuff, and Miki wants to have some snow play, so leaving Mom with her head down a seal hole on the ice, he clambers up a snow ridge, looking for some fun. At the top, he looks across the wide space of white below. And that's when he sees it.

A dot in the snow.

Miki keeps his eyes on the red dot, which seems to be growing bigger and bigger. Suddenly he realizes that it's a person, a little girl in a red parka and mittens, walking straight toward him. Miki has never seen such a thing. But he is intrigued.

He liked its twinkly face.

And the gurgling sound it made.

And Dot Girl likes to play. She smiles and giggles as they make and throw snowballs and slide down the snow slide they build. But suddenly Miki notices one of her red mittens is missing. Her bare paw looks very cold! Miki sees that Dot Girl is sad, but just then the ice begins to crack and separate under their feet.

The red mitten drops through a crack and into the sea. Somehow, Miki knows just what to do.

Miki dives.

But when he comes back up with the mitten, there's another problem. He and Dot are marooned on an ice floe which is beginning to float away from the land. This is not what he had in mind when he went off to play! But Miki sees what he has to do.

Miki showed the Dot how to jump!

Safe back on land, the two notice that it is beginning to snow. Now the air is almost all white, too, just like the land. But then through the flakes they see a larger red dot coming closer. It's the Dot's mom in her own red parka, looking for her. Dot is happy to see her mother and gives Miki's nose a quick rub with her own before she runs to join her mom.

Making a new friend is fun, but seeing Dot going away with her mother makes Miki miss his own mom. Where is she? He looks all over and at last has an idea. He bravely puts his head under the cold green sea, and -- and there, under the water is his mom, swimming to find him.

Miki has had fun, made a new friend, and gotten over his fear of diving into the sea. Fishing seems like something he can handle now, too!

But right now Miki needs a ride home on Mom's furry back and a bit of a sleep back at the den, in Corinne Averiss's A Dot in the Snow (Sterling Books, 2016). Averiss's story of a little wandering polar bear cub is told cleverly by the charming illustrations of artist Fiona Woodcock, shown in both panels and full-and double-page spreads, with little Dot's red parka the only spot of warm, strong color amid the whites of snow, ice, and bear, and the cool aquamarine of the sea, in a charming story of an unexpected rescue and an unexpected playmate, and with just a bit of a nudge toward a welcome bedtime.

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