Winter's Tale: An Original Pop-Up Journey

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Winter's Tale: An Original  Pop-Up Journey Book Poster Image
3-D walk in winter woods shimmers, glitters.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book, comprising simple text and pop-up illustrations, is too delicate for little ones. Better to share it with a child sitting on your lap while you carefully turn the pages.

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What's the story?

A narrator, unseen until the end, walks through the winter woods, describing the sights and creatures. These include a bear trying to catch fish, a family of mice hiding from an owl, a rabbit carrying a clue to the narrator, a moose, beavers, and more, each of which pops up. On the final spread a cabin surrounded by a pine forest has working colored lights, powered by included and replaceable batteries.

Is it any good?

Collectors of pop-up books have most of Robert Sabuda's work, and they won't want to miss this one. His paper engineering is simply the best there is. Unlike some of his busier and more active books, this one is calm and contemplative, with a lovely, gentle feel. If his Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs was Rock & Roll, this one is New Age.

As a work for kids, though, it is less successful than some of his adaptations of others' writing. The text is instantly forgettable, and the color scheme is problematic. Some of these animals are so abstract that without color clues children may have difficulty making them out. Nevertheless, the abstraction, gentle prose, and mild mystery of the narrator make this a wonderful book for an adult and child to puzzle out together in front of the fire on a cold winter's night.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about who the narrator is, a secret hinted at on several pages but only subtly revealed on the last spread. Even there it's a bit metaphorical, and younger kids may need help sorting it out. What does the snowman stand for? What hints are there throughout the book?

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