On Christmas Eve Liesel brings down handfuls of snow for Max to taste. Then she gathers more and builds a snowman in the basement. Everyone has a brief time of pure joy, and then they fall asleep. Max starts to get sick after that, however, and he can't seem to ever get warm. By mid-February he collapses and hits his head on the accordion case. Rosa and Hans carry him to Liesel's room and put him to bed. Liesel is worried and depressed, and she visits Max many times during the night. In the morning she brings his sketchbook, but he still won't wake up. Liesel feels guilty for making the snowman, which probably made him sick, and she begs him not to die.
Liesel finds more ways to create happiness with little things and beautiful moments. This is another respite between the tragedy that keeps the story from growing too grim. When Max gets sick, the reality of his dangerous presence comes to the fore again – he has become like a part of the family, but the fact is that they are all in constant danger while he is there, and now he doesn't even have the ability to leave or escape on his own.