Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, December 16, 2019

Holding Hope In Your Hands

It is said keeping a bit of seasonal cheer visible all year long brings you good luck.  For many years a tiny Christmas tree covered in miniature ornaments with a tiny train running around the bottom has held a position of honor on my desk.  Next year it will be joined by another item.

Some people collect these items to commemorate a visit or an event.  Our family collects them to celebrate Christmas.  A few are my mother's; a few are mine.  As if bound by an invisible chord memories are attached to each snow globe.  There is a special kind of magic in memories made of love.  Snow Globe Wishes (Sleeping Bear Press, September 15, 2019) written by Erin Dealey with illustrations by Claire Shorrock is about the serendipity of wishes coming true.  It's about the contagious character of spontaneous and shared joy.

Lights go out!
   Fierce clouds blow in.
      Garlands fly on frozen wind.

A wild wintry storm is brewing.  The power goes out.  As workers head for home, roadways become covered with snow.  Residents snuggle in for the night with warmth from fireplaces and light from candles.

Near the fire one family builds a cozy camp from blankets and a mattress on the floor.  After a bedtime story, everyone (the kitten and dog, too) sleeps, except for the oldest child.  Holding the family snow globe in her hands, she makes a wish. 

A new day dawns with sunshine and snow, lots of snow.  As the girl gazes out the window, words seem to call to her.  These unspoken words are calling to all the children.  Their parents join them.  Soon the neighborhood is filled with play and laughter.

Something wonderful is happening.  When it seems as if the day can't get any better, it does.  One at a time, person to person, a single thought and a single action is shared.  Anything can happen on a

snow globe day.

Those first three words

Lights go out!

are nearly as powerful as once upon a time.  They announce the beginning of a spell; the spell of possible stories in the making. Erin Dealey's vividly descriptive and flawless rhyming text take us into the center of this snowstorm, of the evening with one family and of the following day with an entire community.

Her words weave a wondrous world around us.  As the cadence carries us deeper into the narrative, we can literally feel marvelous magic growing.  It is an enchantment we all would gladly embrace as reality.  Here is a passage.

Blanket forts.

Crawl in.
Scoot over.

Kitten purrs.
Me, too! barks Rover. 

Looking at the open and matching dust jacket and book case, readers know there is a promise of happiness radiating from the images.  The girl who makes the snow globe wish is looking directly at us.  Her expression is saying to us, Trust me.  Have faith.  Her smile and the people merrily engaged in activities behind her all point to the benefits of believing.

To the left, on the back, on a background of cream, illustrator Claire Shorrock has taken a portion of one of the interior illustrations, enlarged it and framed it in a crisp white border.  Our protagonist and her family are enjoying the snowy morning.  Here and on the front, details are varnished in glittery white.

On the opening and closing endpapers, on a pale muted green canvas amid snowflakes, is a pattern of a sled, a pair of ice skates and a cup of a hot beverage.  Between the text on the title page, the little girl, her father, younger brother, seated on a sled, and her mother are holding hands in front of the row of houses on their street.  They are accompanied by a handsome, smiling snowman.  The mother is holding the stick hand of the snowman.

Readers will find themselves stopping at each page turn to enjoy each intricate line.  Within her illustrations Claire Shorrock combines perspectives and artistic styles.  Although she employs a full color palette, the hues are soft.  There is no doubt in your mind about the cold and wintry weather, but you also get a very real sense of a glow inside and outside the homes and on the inside and outside of the people.

Her picture sizes vary from double page to full page and sometimes on her page without words, several smaller images are grouped together. Different races are presented in the people, even in the girl's family.  Claire Shorrock is one of those artists who can convey a range of emotions with dots for eyes.

One of my many, many favorite pictures is on a full page and enhances the text above noted.  The two sides of the blanket fort fashion a large "v" opening.  On the left the light from a camp lamp shines on the red plaid blanket.  On the left the mother is holding the younger brother on her lap.  On the right, the father is reading a book aloud.  The little girl is in front of him.  She is holding a stuffed-toy rabbit.  Her bunny slippers are next to her on the floor.  The kitten is already asleep on a pillow.  The dog is barking.

This book, Snow Globe Wishes written by Erin Dealey with pictures by Claire Shorrock, is pure delight in every aspect.  This is a book to be read over and over and enjoyed every time as if it's the very first time.  You'll want to add this charming story with its beautiful words and images to your seasonal collections at home and at work.  I want to hug this book!

To discover more about Erin Dealey and Claire Shorrock and their other work, please follow the links attached to their names to access their respective websites.  Erin Dealey has accounts on Instagram and Twitter.  Claire Shorrock has accounts on Instagram and Twitter.  This book is showcased at author Kathleen Temean's Writing and Illustrating.  At the publisher's website there is a link to an activity page.  Enjoy the book trailer.

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