When Izzy, a chipmunk, gets a note from Bear asking her to "[p]lease come at once!" she doesn't consider refusing. Izzy knows the summons must be important, because "Bear never ask[s] for anything." Even though the sky looks ominous, Izzy puts on her scarf, grabs a lantern and hurries out, just as the "flakes [begin] to flutter down." The snow piles "deeper and deeper and deeper" until Izzy finds herself stalled, up to her chest in snow.
Scritch (a squirrel in a green hoodie) comes by and asks Izzy where she's headed. The helpful squirrel invites Izzy to hop on board, exclaiming "we'll be there in a jiff!" The duo make great progress until the branches become too slippery with snow. Bingle the duck (sporting a knitted winter cap with earflaps and a pom pom) appears just in time, and insists that Izzy and Scritch pile on. They fly through the darkening "skyway" until the three come to a "sudden stop" on a snow-covered roof, and then the group is back to walking. They toil along until Snaffie (a raccoon in a sweater) catches up with them. Izzy, Scritch and Bingle ride the rest of the way on Snaffie's back; by the time Bear opens her door, only Izzy is visible above the snow line. But their teamwork has paid off, because everyone is there to share in the great surprise that awaits in "the warmth of [Bear's] den."
Brian Lies (Bats at the Beach; The Rough Patch) illustrates his wintertime adventure in meticulous detail. The characters all have their own distinct personalities even as they share a common goal: getting Izzy to Bear's house. Friendship, teamwork and an overall commitment to helpfulness give this beautifully realized picture book its warmhearted appeal. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI