It is the longest night of the year, and the snow lies deep. All through the forest, animals long for dawn's warmth. Strong and clever creatures boast that only they can bring back the sun. But the wind knows better. The wind calls Chickadee, whose simple song wakes the sun. In this lyrical story from Marion Dane Bauer with breathtaking watercolors by Ted Lewin, it will take a tiny and gentle creature to summon a new day.
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Ted Lewin grew up in Buffalo, New York, with two brothers, one sister, two parents, a lion, an iguana, and a chimpanzee. He became interested in art as a young boy when he would draw his brothers' wold of wrestling. Ted later worked as a professional wrestler to finance his studies at the Pratt Institute of Fine Arts, where he met his wife, Betsy Lewin, also a children's book writer and illustrator. He and his wife travel around the world to research the setting for their books. While working on Sacred River, which he both wrote and illustrated, Ted joined thousands of Hindus on their pilgrimage to the banks of the Ganges River in Benares, India. Ted now lives and works in the brownstone he shares with his wife and their two cats in Brooklyn, New York. www.tedlewin.com.
Marion Dane Bauer is an award-winning author who also teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College. Among her Clarion titles are ON MY HONOR, a Newbery Honor Book; A BEAR NAMED TROUBLE; and RUNT: THE STORY OF A WOLF PUP. She lives with her partner, Ann Goddard, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Grade 2–4—This stunningly crafted tale, written in the language of the storyteller, realistically pictures, in both words and paintings, the phenomenon that is the winter solstice. ("The snow lies deep./The night is long and long./The stars are ice, the moon is frost,/and all the world is still.") Although the characters in the almost poetic text are animals—crow, moose, fox—they express the apprehension felt by ancient peoples as they anxiously awaited the sun's return following the longest night of the year. Amid the snow, darkness, and bitter wind, each of the creatures boasts that it will get the sun to return, but the wind replies, "Not you,...Not you." Surprisingly, the wind chooses the tiny chickadee to wake the slumbering sun with her cheery song—"Dee-dee-dee." "And with the song/of one small bird/and the sun's answering smile/the journey toward spring/begins." There is plenty of moonlight in Lewin's watercolor paintings created with just blue, brown, and green. Double-page close-ups of a sleeping, moonlit bear surrounded by tiny snoozing field mice; the soft, knowing eyes of the antlered moose; the vicious snarl of the heavily whiskered fox; and the larger-than-life chickadee all create the feeling that you, the observer, are standing close at hand, a participant in this annual ritual of nature.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH END
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