Thursday, December 11, 2008

Anna's Wish

Hachler, Bruno. 2008. Anna's wish. New York: NorthSouth.

This book may have been first published in Switzerland, but it's a perfect story for any town that hasn't seen snow in recent years. In the town where Anna lives, snow is becoming just a memory. It hasn't snowed in years,

"At first people thought nothing of it. Each winter, grown-ups got out their snow shovels. Children drew pictures of snowmen and sleds. Surely snow would fall soon.

But when the first crocuses popped out of the ground, people put their shovels away and turned their thoughts to spring."

Passing the bakery shop window daily, Anna becomes entranced by a sparkling white horse in a window display and consumed with her desire to feel snow. In her mind, she entwines the white horse with her wishes for snow - and

"Like tiny stars, her wishes floated up into the sky and froze. Then, slowly, they began to fall back down to the earth. ... Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. Millions of them."

The illustrations are cheerful, but subdued. Bright colors adorn the people, cars and shops, while the sky remains resolutely gray. The town, the bakery, the weather are the focus of the paintings - not Anna. Anna is a small, cheerful girl dwarfed by the hustle and bustle of the world. Humorous details include a leashed dachshund refusing to budge and two moving men carrying a sign which contains the text of the story.

This is a simple, quiet and joyful story of a long awaited snowfall. It may be about Switzerland, but it could just as well be New Jersey. A perfect read on the eve of a possible snow day.

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