With a catchy title that accurately sums up the story, this is a wonderful high-concept picture book that plays on children’s awe and wonder at snow.
Princess Ellie lives in an ice palace that floats high in the sky. Her mum is the Snow Queen and they have a very special machine that collects clouds and turns them into snowflakes. The machine works perfectly until the day that Princess Ellie is left in charge – the machine breaks and Ellie has to find another way of making snowflakes. Luckily her friends the birds are able to help.
With a catchy title that accurately sums up the story, this is a wonderful high-concept picture book. I simply love the idea of a snowflake machine and adore the detail of how the machine works – squishing the clouds until they are squashed into a thin flake before punching the pattern in.
Released in time to target the Christmas market, the book plays on children’s awe and wonder at snow (especially in the UK where we don’t see snow every year). It will, however, have appeal far beyond Christmas and is a book which will stand regular re-reading.
While I’m personally not a big fan of rhyme, I suspect the rhyme will add to the appeal for many children. The story is easily accessible for the target audience with only one or two more difficult words such as ‘appointing’ and ‘cloaked’. Most important of all, the story has a strong structure. The repetition of the first two lines of the book at the end gives the story a particularly satisfying conclusion.
The illustrations take the form of a digital collage and are both clever and appealing. I particularly smiled at the images of the Snow Queen in her grey business suit and red-rimmed spectacles with her crown jauntily perched on top of her hair. Children are likely to prefer Princess Ellie who reminds me of a modern version of the iconic little girl in The Tiger Who Came To Tea (although that is probably really because of the distinctive stripy socks).
There is good pacing in the pictures and I loved the use of shaped text and large words to add emphasis, particularly in the double page spread when the machine explodes.
Overall this is an enjoyable story that will make a lovely Christmas gift. There is also the added bonus of instructions for how children can make their own snowflakes – an activity that little ones will undoubtedly adore. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more traditional Christmas picture book, why not try The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg or The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore and Max Marshall.
Review first published on The Bookbag