The Winter Solstice is approaching, and with it a celebration of coming light. It’s one of my favorite holidays of the year, with its ancient roots in the seasonal transition. Here in Portland, we can feel the transition from late fall to early winter. And of course we hear from friends and family on the East Coast that they are already deep into winter weather, with snow and blizzards already. Wherever you are, it’s wonderful to bring books along to celebrate the seasons–and the longest night of the year. We are fortunate to have lots of great new books to share with the picture book lovers in our lives (read: Everyone!)
So here is a trio of books to bring light and coziness to your winter reading pleasure. I suggest a mug of cocoa on the side!
Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Jim La Marche
Through the eyes of a young girl, readers see and experience the changes in nature. From her treehouse perch, she listens and watches and describes how the chipmunks, the doe, the rabbits prepare for the winter. Time slows down as we sit by her side and see the details of the animals adjusting to changes: “The mother bear snuffles for food among the flaming leaves. The cub snuffles too. . .but no luck. Winter is coming.” I love that the narator brings along her tools–binoculars, pencils and her trusty sketchpad. The illustrations are rich with detail and simply gorgeous, using a combination of acrylic and colored pencil. Definitely a book to return to over and over.
Winter Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow
As a Grandma, I identify with the family in this sweet tale by Virginia Snow, author of another one of our favorite seasonal books: Fall Walk, which we reviewed last autumn. Once again, Virginia and her grandchildren tromp through the woods (and sometimes slide or carefully step through snow), learning about the natural world as they explore the wonders of winter in the woods. From glimpses of brilliant cardinals, to wonderings about why some trees lose their leaves and others are green all year, their winter fun is informative and entertaining. At the end, we even learn how to build a pinecone bird feeder.
Outside by Deidre Gill
Brand new and a delightful addition to your winter –and ode to imagination–picture book collection. Within its pages, a young boy creates whole worlds of adventure in a winter wonderland. His imaginary snow friend, a castle, and even a dragon takes flight across the wintery pages. Though the text is brief, it has a lyrical poetic quality that works well to complement the really inspiring pictures. Expect to have young readers demanding you reread Outside.