“The Story of Snowflake and Inkdrop”
By Pierdomenico Baccalario and Alessandro Gatti, translated by Brenda Porster, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani, Enchanted Lion Books, $22.95,
A wonderful, wintry production marvel, “The Story of Snowflake and Inkdrop” is an oversize picture book full of grand design gestures that is, at its center, a meet-cute tale of friends from different worlds. Open one cover to follow the tale of a lonely snowflake waiting to fall from a silvery cloud. Then flip the book and open it from the other side to read the story of an inkdrop, quivering in a well, eager to be included in an artist’s work. In the center of the book the two stories meet in spectacular form: a paper gate, die-cut into the shape of a snowflake on one side and ink puddles on the other, opens to reveal a burst of folkloric doodles stretching across four pages. It’s a deeply satisfying perspective that unites opposites — black and white — into one glorious vision of friendship and collaboration.
“The Snow Rabbit”
By Camille Garoche, Enchanted Lion Books, $16.95, ages 4-8
Last year’s “Fox’s Garden,” a startlingly beautiful book with an unusual landscape shape, told a story in pictures of an unlikely friendship between a boy and a fox. The book’s mysterious allure was heightened by the author’s pen name, Princesse Camcam. Now, under her own name, Camille Garoche has written a slant companion to her first book. “The Snow Rabbit” is a similarly enchanting wordless wonder. This time Garoche places sisters — who, as the story begins, are watching through a window as snow falls — at the warm heart of her book. Delight turns to disappointment when one sister ventures outside and sculpts an exquisite bunny out of snow, which begins to melt when she brings it indoors. Inside, the other sister is revealed to be sitting in a wheelchair, but that doesn’t stop the young adventurers. Together they take their icy bunny outside and watch in wonder as he leaps away. They follow him deeper into the woods as he grows to a supernatural size. When the wheelchair gets stuck in the forest, the sisters are saved by their creation, who ushers them home. Garoche’s meticulous process — she constructs Joseph Cornell-like boxes with cut paper illustrations and then photographs them — deepens the dimensions of this magical story.