I picked this book from Netgalley because of the illustrator, Qin Leng. Her soft ink and watercolour illustrations are the highlight of this book for me. Honestly, they are gorgeous, and impart a vintage feel reminiscent of the original Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows books. While I was in the middle of admiring Leng's images, I became enchanted with the story itself.
Families of animals in a forest are having an ordinary day, when word comes that a blizzard is on its way.
They get to work preparing for it and then settle snugly into their little homes.
When two bears, strangers to them, arrive in the forest, they wonder who they are are and why they are here.
When the strangers go from home to home searching for shelter, the animal families lie and send them on their way. Only a young fox offers them a lantern to guide them.
As the snow piles up, the strangers fashion their own shelter. When the heavy snow collapses the fox den, they end up searching for shelter themselves and find it with the strangers in their snow den.
This book will be an important contribution to collections about immigration and refugees, but is significant on its own for what it teaches readers about generosity and kindness.