Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Winter is Coming

Booklist starred (August 2014 (Vol. 110, No. 22))
Grades K-3. On a cold September day, a girl takes her binoculars, sketch pad, and pencils outdoors to draw the wildlife around her family’s farm. She returns several times before late November, when the first snowflakes fall. Often observing from a platform in a tree, she sketches what she sees: a red fox, a bear with her cub, a lynx, a skunk family, woodpeckers, rabbits, chipmunks, a doe with two fawns, Canada geese, and wild turkeys. The geese are flying south, but the other animals are foraging for food as they prepare to winter in the woods and fields around the farm. Written from the girl’s point of view, Johnston’s text is plainspoken and natural sounding but poetic in effect, with graceful repetition: on most double-page spreads, the lines end with “Winter is coming.” Created with acrylics, colored pencils, and opaque inks, LaMarche’s captivating illustrations convey the radiance of an autumn meadow, the girl’s rapt attention to her surroundings, and the unique qualities of the animals she observes. Winter may be in the title, but this evocative picture book is best for reading aloud in the fall, when children can notice the subtle changes happening in their own outdoor spaces. A quiet, beautiful picture book to share.

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