It's December 24th, and the old farmer settles down for a winter's nap, wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow! It is in his dream that he imagines a snowstorm coming and covering him and his animals—named One, Two, Three, Four and Five—in a snowy blanket.
But when the farmer awakens, he finds that it has really snowed outside, and now he remembers something! Putting on his red suit, he goes outside, puts some gifts under the tree for his animals, and presses a button near a Christmas tree, creating a most surprising musical treat for children everywhere.
Ages 2-6. Visual and musical gimmicks enhance Carle's signature bright, textured collages in this holiday-cum-counting story. A white-bearded farmer lives the simple life with a few animals that he names One through Five. Children don't find out which number matches which animal, though, until they follow the farmer through a visually clever dream. "It's almost Christmas, and it hasn't snowed yet," says the farmer. But as he sleeps, he envisions snow falling, covering each of his animals, while the text counts along--"The snowflakes gently covered One with a blanket"---a plastic sheet printed with snow overlays each page, concealing the collage images until readers lift the page and discover that One is a horse, Two is a cow, etc. Dream becomes reality when the farmer awakes to a white world and hurries outside (dressed in Santa coat and boots) with presents for the animals and ornaments for a tree that, thanks to a changeable battery pack, plays a chiming tune at the press of a button. Although this is more an exercise than a story, Carle fans and toddlers learning the basics will still enjoy the gentle text and creative design features. Gillian Engberg (Booklist)
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