Winter Is Coming
Let's stick with the naturalist theme one more book. Tony
Johnston's Winter Is Coming, beautifully illustrated by Jim LaMarche,
is a must read for families who appreciate the great outdoors.
From a platform high in a tree a girl patiently observes and
sketches the denizens of a forest. Her narration, told in free verse,
is nuanced and lovely.
"A red fox slips into the clearing
that I am watching.
First-sun hits its back.
The red fox shines like a small red fire.
I am quiet, quiet.
The red fox is quiet, quiet.
We share this place."
How can anyone not love that.
It's September when she and the fox carry out this silent
communion. As temperatures drop and days shorten in October and
November she observes a variety of forest denizens: skunks, deer,
migrating geese, a woodpecker...all driven by the urgency to prepare
for a time of cold, dark, and scarcity. The animals are described
respectfully and authentically. None of that anthropomorphic
Disneyesque crap we see in too many children's books.
We have a winner here.
On a personal note, in Penobscot County, Maine we're hard put to see
how winter is coming. Our latest dusting of snow has been pretty much
melted away. A high of sixty-one degrees is predicted for Christmas
Eve. Holy cow!
A great big shout out goes to the people who have recently generously
given a lot of food to the food pantry of the Black Bear Exchange.
The shelves are packed. This bounty should keep clients going at
least through winter break.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod