"One Dog Sleigh"

What child doesn’t relish snow, and all the fun activities it provides? “One-Dog Sleigh” by Mary Casanova celebrates the white stuff children find so captivating.

Parent educators with the Washington School District have chosen the book as their December Baby Buzz Pick.

Each month the group, in partnership with The Missourian, selects a quality picture book to suggest for children birth to age 5. A review of each month’s Baby Buzz Pick appears in the third weekend issue of newspaper.

The group then purchases additional copies of the Baby Buzz Pick to use in their visits with parents and children.

The following review was written by area literacy advocate Nancy Nagel.

“ ‘Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse, make that dog, sleigh,’ in this delightful new picture book.

“A wintry wonderland is the setting as a young girl takes off for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. But soon the sleigh gets more and more crowded as one animal friend after another decides to join in the fun.

“The story is a familiar one, reminiscent of ‘The Napping House,’ by Audrey and Don Wood. Each page builds on the previous one as additional animal friends climb aboard the sleigh.

“First a squirrel, then owl, lynx, bear, deer and finally a tiny mouse, that proves to be too much. ‘A blizzard’s underway. And now we’re stuck in a one-mouse, one-bear, one-deer, one-lynx, one-owl, one-squirrel, one-dog sleigh.’

“But the tiniest creature gives the greatest help as ‘ . . . Mouse stood tall on the dash. “I’ll lead the way!” Then we all climbed out in the snow straightaway, and we pushed and we tugged on the little red sleigh. Till we made it to the top…’

“All is well in the end as the animal friends wave good bye and return to their forest homes.

“Illustrations of soft, fluffy snow provide the background for the action. Pale blues and grays show how cold it really is in the forest.

“Younger children will enjoy practicing making silly sounds like ‘Hoo-Hoo-Hooted,’ ‘Jing-Jing-Jingle’ and ‘Smack, Crack, Ka-Whack.’ Older children will be able to anticipate what will happen next as each succeeding animal wants to play and join the fun in the sleigh. They can also expand their vocabularies by learning words in this book.

“If you live in a snowy climate, be sure to take your children out to play in the snow and experience all the fun depicted in this book.

“Another fun activity would be to glue cotton balls onto sturdy paper, cut out pictures of the various animals to glue onto the paper. Ask your child to think of other animals or people who would like to ride along. Write down what they say to create your own version of ‘One-dog Sleigh.’ ”

Other parent educator favorites this month are “Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten” by Alison Murray, “There, There” by Sam McBratney, “Kevin’s Big Book of Emotions” by Liesbet Slegers, “Fraidyzoo” by Thyra Heder and “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” by Peter Brown.