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When Winter Comes

by Nancy Van Laan
Illustrated by Susan Gaber

Published by Atheneum, 2000
32 pages
ISBN: 0-689-81778-9

Ages 3 - 6

What happens to leaves and flowers, caterpillars and songbirds, field mice and fish, and other living things "when winter comes and the cold wind blows"? In a series of lyrical question-and-response verses, Nancy Van Laan conveys ways in which the natural world changes and adapts when the cold and snow arrive. Her text is a gentle song for the season, and grace notes are provided by Susan Gaber's, whose subdued palette captures the look and feel of the first heavy snow of the season and the resulting transformation. At the heart of her pictures is a loving family–two adults and a small child–who are exploring this changing world. This trio could be many families: dark-eyed and dark-haired with olive-toned skin, a child that could be boy or girl, and adults that could be a woman and a man or two women. It is the small child, of course, so clearly loved and full of wonder that is nurtured, who is at the center of this story. Children will understand this from the very beginning, even though it is only implied in the text until the very end, when the author asks, "Where oh where does our little one go/ when winter comes and the cold winds blow?" CCBC categories: Seasons and Celebrations; Picture Books for Younger Children; Poetry.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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