From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3?Every first of May, a magical cloud of fireflies from over the Yellow Mountains appears at a riverside village and, melting the deep winter snows, brings spring to the valley. One year, the fireflies do not come, and winter remains. Young Jackie, inept and clumsy, always trying hard but never succeeding, runs away to the mountains after an episode of fierce teasing. Due to a lucky series of incidents caused by his very maladroitness, he acquires a wolf pup for a pet and frees the trapped fireflies, following their glow home to a joyous reunion with parents and neighbors. McLoughlin's acrylic paintings keep perfect step with Hoffman's lyrical text. This allegorical tale, loaded with messages, will be a nice addition to use with physically and learning-disabled children, but even they may wonder how the cold light of a firefly could melt a winter's snow, or how a strawberry plant, buried in drifts, could grow, blossom, be fertilized, and bear fruit without seeing a spark of sunlight.?Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
As in Hoffman's novels for adults (Here on Earth, p. 824, etc.), this picture book takes place where the ordinary and the extraordinary intersect--a pseudo-fairytale in which the town bumpkin makes good. The fireflies return annually, bringing spring with them, but this year, they don't show up; winter lingers and no one knows why. In the meantime, Jackie Healy falls, breaks things, trips, and believes that his parents would prefer ``the sort of boy who could skate in a perfect circle and climb trees without falling and pitch a ball without breaking windows.'' In shame, he leaves his village, becoming lost in the Yellow Mountains. His clumsiness results in unwitting, but effective, acts of heroism, for he releases the fireflies and brings back spring. McLoughlin illuminates the pages with sparkling stars, blinking fireflies, and glowing globes of lantern light against blue, snowy nights and black sky borders, printed on glossy stock. The message isn't very subtle, the telling is long and windy, but there are those who will find comfort in these pages. (Picture book. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.