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by Mary Casanova
AR Test, Picture Book
4 - 7
Harness bells jing-jing-jingle under branches frosted white, but is there enough room for everyone when a squirrel, owl, lynx, and other forest animals ask to play? On the ten-year anniversary of One-Dog Canoe, the author-illustrator team of Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt have created a winter version of their popular picture book.
One-Dog Sleigh is a simple story that focuses on one girl’s sleigh ride with her dog. Around every corner, a forest animal jumps onto the sleigh to join the fun. However, the girl begins to cry when a little mouse hops on the sleigh and adds just enough weight that the sleigh can no longer move. With the help of the forest animals, the girl is able to free the sleigh from the snow. Then all the animals jump into the sleigh and race down a hill. The story highlights the importance of teamwork and shows how problems can be solved by working together.
The illustrations in One-Dog Sleigh are truly special. Each illustration is set against a wintery backdrop, which allows the red sleigh to catch the reader’s eye. The colorful illustrations are full of action. As each new animal joins the little girl and the dog in the sleigh, the girl’s worry and dismay are excellently portrayed with her facial expressions. The animal’s facial expressions are also expressive and add humor to the story. One-Dog Sleigh could start a wonderful conversation about reading people’s facial expressions.
One-Dog Sleigh is a picture book that uses repetition, rhyming, and context clues to help younger readers understand the story. However, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. The onomatopoeias and other keywords are printed in large blue text, which adds fun to the page. Each page has 2-3 sentences, which makes One-Dog Sleigh a perfect bedtime story.
One-Dog Sleigh would make an excellent addition to anyone’s winter library. Younger readers will want to read One Dog Sleigh over and over because the simple story and illustrations are so much fun. If you’re looking for other wonderful winter stories to cuddle up with, add A Loud Winter’s Nap by Katy Hudson and Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner to your reading list.
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