Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Over the River and Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure

Over the River and Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure

Linda Ashman
Illustrator:  Kim Smith 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Sterling Children's Books, 2015   ISBN: 978-1454910244

Four families in four different places have got an invitation to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the holidays, and the invitation also says “bring your favorite pie.” And so the family with three children and two dogs loads up their van with luggage and two pies and they set off.  Unfortunately, beyond the overpass, their van runs out of gas and they have no choice but to walk across the snowy countryside to get to the nearest service station. Luckily, a man driving a sleigh comes along in the nick of time and he picks them up.

Meanwhile, in the city, two dads and their children travel to the train station. When they are on board their train they all look out of the window as the cityscape disappears behind them and is replaced by a snowy countryside. When they arrive at their destination there are no rental cars available, which is when a man in a sleigh arrives on the scene, and in the back of the sleigh there are their relatives!

Far away another family is running through the airport hoping that they will get to the gate before it closes, which they do in the nick of time. The plane lands at its destination and then they get into a shuttle bus. “Beyond the village and past the farm” the bus gets a flat tire. All is lost! But wait, the three family members hear the jingling bells of a sleigh, and in the back of the sleigh the mother, father and little boy see their relatives.

Another family has a long journey to make too. From their cold and snowy home they get a ferry to the mainland. Then they board a hot air balloon and over the snowy landscape they drift and then they see, below them, a sleigh full of people dashing across the countryside.

In this wonderful picture book bouncy rhyming verse is paired with wonderful illustrations to give children a delightful picture of how four very different families, who are all related, make their way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Thanksgiving. Their journeys are not easy and they all encounter challenges, but none of them give up. Children will be delighted when they see how the old-fashioned sleigh, with its two horses and helpful driver, ends up saving the day.