As winter tightened her icy grip on the land, Zander faced one hardship after another.
Just when he started to feel like giving up...
...a miracle happened along.
The little girl carried Zander back to her den.
While his friends prepare to fly their usual route south, Zander the goose decides to stay exactly where he is, appreciating autumn by jumping in the leaves and enjoying the sunset. He is shocked one morning to discover that the puddles he previously enjoyed swimming in have become "hard, cold, and slippery". A friendly squirrel suggests he gathers nuts to prepare for a cold winter, but Zander remembers that he doesn't actually enjoy eating nuts. Other creatures have similarly poor advice; for instance, a bunny suggests Zander "turn completely white". And when it starts to snow, Zander suddenly realizes that the tips of his wings have frozen and that all his animal companions have disappeared. Suddenly, a young girl appears and carries him back to her home where, over the cold winter season, she introduces him to tobogganing, skiing, making snow angels, drinking hot chocolate, and other delights. When his fellow birds arrive back in the spring, Zander recounts his amazing winter experience, after which they, too, decide to stay for all future winters.
A delightful and charming book, Zander Stays contributes a unique take to the plethora of winter-themed titles. Simple prose and an interesting plot propel the reader along, wondering what will happen next to Zander. Local touches, such as using the word "tobogganing", will allow young Canadians to relate to the story. The illustrations are colourful, expressive, and detailed. The two-page spread of Zander huddling among snowflakes perfectly captures the intensity and chaos of swirling snow. Winter-positive books are quite welcome, and this one is highly recommended for all children's collections.
Roxy Garstad is a collections librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.