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Non-Fiction Monday: Arctic Lights Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller
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proseandkahn

Illustrations by Jon Van Zyle. 32 p. Walker & Company, April, 2003.

I chose an older title to review today, partly because it was new to me and my library and partly to celebrate/ acknowledge the spring equinox, which passed yesterday. 

Beginning at one summer solstice, Debbie S. Miller clocks the date, the hours of daylight, the times of the sunrise and sunset, along with the average high and low temperatures along the top of lovely illustrations depicting the habits of a habitats of indigenous wildlife. Short paragraphs describe Then, we check in on the 21st of each month to learn how the animals adapt to the changing seasons. Observant readers/ listeners might note the strip of color that runs along each double page spread, starting with one that is nearly all yellow on June 21, the summer solstice, the time when the sun rises at 1:58 A.M. in Fairbanks, Alaska and doesn't set until 11:47 P.M. The two hours that the sun dips below the horizon is not long enough to darken the skies. As each month ticks by, the sunlight along the border shrinks until the winter solstice, when there is barely four hours of sunlight.

Van Zyle's acrylic illustrations are beautiful and incorporate details from the text, such as the northern lights, a camouflaged snowshoe hare, and sun dogs, which appear during the spring equinox, to name a few. A three-page glossary concludes the book. Unfortunately, the terms, when used in the text, are not bolded to indicate that they are further explained in the back of the book. Stll, it's attractive and also includes spot illustrations depicting the earth as it orbits around the sun. Please don't skip over the introduction, where a lovely map of Alaska is provided along with explanation about how huge and diverse Alaska is.