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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells, written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann. Scholastic, 2014. $16.99 ages 3 and up

"Maple candy dish -
What a letdown for this loon!
All she wants is fish,
She steals some from Raccoon.

Owl unwraps a prize,
So does Caribou,
Wouldn't it be wise for them
To make a switcheroo?"

I am sure there is a teacher, or more than one, out there who discovered this terrific new book prior to the holiday season and preparation for the annual Christmas concert. It would a great performance piece for a classroom!

It's the second book that Ms. Becker and Mr. Zimmermann have created in honor of a Canadian holiday season, using the tune and rhythms of Jingle Bells to share a very unique look at the True North and its many animals and wintry scenes.

It begins with Beaver and Porcupine setting off for a wild ride on a Ski-Doo over the northern landscape. Every animal had better get out of their way, it seems. With Sasquatch attached to their front bumper they look up to the sky and see not only the beauty of the aurora borealis, but the joy to be found in Santa's overloaded sleigh. In a quick moment, Sasquatch creates chaos that dumps many gifts from Santa's load, gift-wrapped but not tagged.

In the ensuing confusion, the animals open gifts that don't match their wishes or personalities, but it doesn't take much to make everyone happy. With melodic music and a lovely final surprise, they gather as friends to count their blessings.

Werner Zimmermann's detailed watercolors offer humor, and a good deal of energy to the celebration. It will take a number of readings to know that you have finally seen all there is to see.
I especially love the conflict that results when the loon takes a liking to raccoon's salmon; wait! it was also fun to watch caribou try to figure out just exactly what to do with the gift he opens. I guess you
will need to get this book to see for yourself!

Share it with your children more than once, and you might find them repeatedly singing brand new words to an old, familiar song. You are sure to join in the fun!  


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