Alan Horsfield, The Pink Snowman, Big Sky Publishing, 1 May 2017, 48pp., $12.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781925520439
On the one hand, the adventure of Krystal, Jasper and the embarrassed, pink snowman is a sweet, funny and endearing tale that takes pause to consider the snowman’s point of view concerning a common lack of attire. It is set in Australia’s Blue Mountains and will be relatable to plenty of kids. There are some interesting ‘snow facts’ embedded within the narrative, which flow with the story, linked to the character of Dad, and the personalities of the 3 humans are likeable and familiar.
On the other hand, this is not a study in continuity of feel or genre. The first half of this book is clearly written as fiction, but may well be based on fact. Dad and daughter Krystal have a typical teasing/eye-rolling relationship and the feelings Krystal displays regarding the weather and being trapped indoors are completely realistic. Neighbour Jasper is a contrasting character, but again, this could be any friendship between two kids. At literally the half way point of the book, an otherwise innocuous snowman suddenly springs to life and the fantasy half of the story takes hold. The narrative is now driven by the snowman and feels completely different to the first half of the story. The fact that every loose end resolves neatly and quickly on the last page, is the final, simplistic twist. What could have been a great fantasy tale has fallen short, and is in need of further editing to redefine its purpose.
As a chapter book for competent young readers, the target audience may well be oblivious to all of the above, however, The Pink Snowman is definitely more ‘cute story’ and not so much ‘literature’.
Reviewed by Katie Bingham