proseandkahn (proseandkahn) wrote,
proseandkahn
proseandkahn

Happy Winter Solstice

Yes, I did get up in time to watch the lunar eclipse early this morning. But, no, I did not watch the entire eclipse. It was gorgeous. The setting moon also happened to be gorgeous later this morning, as was yesterday's setting moon. I also happen to think that it was very cool that the December full moon coincides with the winter solstice - makes the name, Long-Night Moon, all the more apropos.

While I love a great deal about winter and snow and crisp cold days, I miss the sun and sunlight. I have always felt the lack of sunlight organically. When I learned about Seasonal Affective Disorder some years ago, I was actually relieved! I'm not so affected that I need one of those sunlight lamps. As long as I get out of doors in the middle of each day, I can deal. But I definitely begin mourning the loss of daylight at the summer solstice.

Thinking about this reminded me of some older family favorites:

Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here, by Jean Craighead George. Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski. 32 p. HarperCollins Publishers, 1993.

In this quiet and sweet book, a grandmother writes to her granddaughter of the changes that the coming winter bring.

Fox's Dream by Tejima. 48 p. Philomel, 1987.
Unfortunately, this title is out of print. I can't tell you how many times I had to read this one to sons #2 and #3. If you look closely at the scanned cover, you can see a tear along the left side that was mended with tape.

A lone fox trots through snowy woods. He's looking for food and comes upon some rabbit tracks. He bounds after the rabbit and his chase brings him deep into the woods. After he loses his quarry, he finds himself contemplating the ice-covered trees, where he sees various animals in the ice. When he notices an ice family of foxes, he is reminded of his own youth and is transported back to sunny, warm times. When he breaks from his reverie, he is still cold and still alone. Except, that as he leaves the wood, he comes across a vixen and celebrates the fact that it will soon be spring.

Spare, poetic text and striking wood cuts provide much to contemplate.

One Cold Night by Clair Ewart. 32 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons/ Penguin, 1992.

A little girl, dressed for bed, gazes out of her window at the winter night sky as cloud coyotes howl in the moonlight and Snow Woman arrives to tuck the animals in for winter. Birds huddle, turtles bury themselves in the mud, groundhogs hide, but bear doesn't care. No matter what Snow Woman does, bear will not go to bed. She covers the ground with frost, makes the northern lights dance. Nothing will compel bear to go hibernate, until she calls the cloud coyotes down from the sky.

Again, spare text and cozy illustrations are perfect for a winter's night reading. Also, sadly out of print.

Winter by Ron Hirschi. Color photographes by Thomas D. Magelsen. 32 p. Dutton, 1990.

Again - this one is out of print. Again, spare text describes how winter affects various wildlife, accompanied by crisp, clear photographs.

Frederick by Leo Lionni, 32 p. Alfred A. Knopf, 1967.

This Caldecott Honor was a second tier favorite of #4 son. In fact, when he was "person of the week" in kindergarten, he had me read this book aloud and help his classmates make torn paper mice. (Directions were provided on the last page of my paperback edition.)

Winter is nearing and all the mice in the field are laying in supplies for the winter. Frederick appears to be doing nothing. Mice scurry to and fro carrying all sorts of food and still, Frederick appears to do nothing. Winter sets in and food supplies dwindle, then become scarce. That is when Frederick begins telling stories. Stories that sustain his fellow mice through the worst of winter.

Happy Solstice everyone.
Tags: picture books, solstice, winter
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