A snowstorm is brewing. Father squirrel must find a place for his family to stay warm, but another animal is hiding out in every place he finds. Then he discovers the perfect place—a glove that someone has lost. As the family snuggles in, the owner of the glove comes back. What will happen to the squirrel family now?
On a stormy winter day, Father Squirrel has to find a new home for his family, but every tree is occupied. Then, he finds a lost woolen glove: “There was just enough room in the glove for Mother Squirrel and the five babies,” but Father Squirrel has to stay outside, “trying to shield himself from the cold.” When the boy who lost the glove turns up, “Father Squirrel felt terrible for having taken the boy’s glove. But his family had needed a place to keep warm.” The boy sees what’s happening, and leaves his other glove to shelter the papa. In depicting the power of an act of kindness toward those that face dire necessity, the tale’s themes transcend the seasons, if the telling itself never quite soars. Li uses texture—sweeps and dustings of white—to conjure a stylized wintry world populated by wide-eyed squirrels seeking shelter. Ages 3–7 (October 20, 2019)
Similar to Jan Brett’s classic The Mitten, with some noticeable differences, this version of the cumulative tale begins with a father squirrel searching relentlessly for a warm place for his family during a snowstorm. After discovering that a hole in both a tall and short tree are occupied respectively by a black bear and hedgehog, he finds an abandoned wool glove (correctly assumed to be left behind by a child). There is just enough room for his wife and five babies to tuck inside, but the dad is left out to weather the storm. That is, until the young boy returns and relinquishes his second glove so that the entire squirrel family can keep warm. While Jin’s take on this warmhearted story features fewer woodland creatures and exchanges the mitten for two gloves, the most poignant aspect is that the boy is willing to sacrifice for the sake of the needy animals. Li’s illustrations are lush and meticulous. He captures the blustery weather with speckled white brushstrokes, conveying a winter storm that is eye-catching but not overly frightening for young children. The lone orange squirrel trekking through the drifts is a vivid contrast in color and shade, and his effort doesn’t become a hopeless quest. The resonant message is that kind acts are deeply appreciated. VERDICT A marvelous winter-themed picture book that can be used with its predecessor, The Mitten. However, it stands well on its own merits. A welcome addition to a winter picture book collection.
Yeshiva of Central Queens, NY