Two Wool Gloves

Reycraft. Oct. 2019. 32p. pap. $6.95. ISBN 9781478868804.
PreS-Gr 2–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.

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