The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer

The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ted Lewin

(Suggest reading level: Ages 4-8)

Yesterday was the winter solstice, the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, which is why Amber (9) and I took a break from the book we’re in the middle of to read The Longest Night.

In the forest, the night is cold, dark and seems like it will never end. Several animals think they are stong enough or smart enough to wake the sun, but it turns out that a small, humble bird heralds the dawn.

“The night is long and long,” says a chickadee.
“The sun is gone and gone.
If not crow or moose or fox, then who?
Who can bring back the sun?”
“You,” says the wind. “Only you.”

This is a beautifully written book, clear enough for younger children to understand, but the phrasing is poetic and conveys the mood wonderfully. You can feel how worried the creatures are, how they each think they are the ones who can find where the sun is hiding and send him back to the sky.

The pictures in the book are fabulous. The winter night is painted beautifully in soft shades of blues and browns. Then, when the sun comes out, everything becomes brighter, with pastel orange and yellow added to the mix. You can imagine the crunch of the snow and the joy the animals feel at the sight of the sunrise.

And with the song
of one small bird
and the sun’s answering smile
the journey toward spring
begins.

This is truly a perfect winter read for children, regardless of what holiday they celebrate. I can see families reading and enjoying it every year.

Our copy was borrowed from the library and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.

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