The Hidden World of Gnomes

Tundra. Jun. 2023. 96p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780735271043.
K-Gr 2–Crafting dandelion seed pillows, playing hide-and-seek with fox kits, and grooming squirrel tails are just a few pastimes for gnomes living in the Pocket. In this imaginative picture book, Soloy gathers the simple moments shared by Hotchi-Mossy, Merry Pip, Beatrix Nut, Twiggy Dell, and other gnomes into a blend of field guide and scrapbook. The sections of the book reflect the 12 full moons of the gnome year and detail the seasonal activities of each. Under the Snowdrop Moon, the gnomes wake with the first flowers of early spring. The Strawberry Moon of summer offers ripened fruit for nibbling. Gathering parties mark the Mushroom Moon of early fall, and the year concludes with the final three Sleep Moons when the gnomes grow their winter whiskers. Individual gnomes are spotlighted, detailing their contributions to life in the Pocket; Merry Pip egg-sits for birds, Beatrix Nut decorates beetle shells, while Rose Gladly whispers lullabies to sleeping seeds. Nestled in between explanations of gnome life are the simple pleasures in their lives, such as “the joy of listening to the rain fall” or “the joy of listening to bees sing.” Soloy’s layout is structured, yet the text playfully dances in and out among earthy watercolor-and-ink illustrations.
VERDICT Early elementary readers will treasure the delicate details of this book and tote it along for outdoor exploration. This cozy and whimsical primer on gnomes will delight readers of all ages.

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