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Children's LiteratureVeteran children's author Miller (A Caribou Journey, A Polar Bear Journey, Disappearing Lake, among others) does many school visits in the Lower 48, and is always peppered with questions about what it's like to live in a place that's pitch-dark for half the year. The Fairbanks resident decided to dispel that mistaken impression once and for all by writing a book about alpenglow, "diamond dust," the aurora borealis, "sundogs" and other aspects of Arctic light. "It is never completely dark all day long," she writes, even in places like Barrow, and the light that does exist is "dynamic and beautiful." The author takes readers month-by-month through a typical year, to help them learn to appreciate each season. Illustrator Van Zyle's acrylic paintings are compelling images of moose, snowshoe hares, grizzlies, wolves, wilderness and, of course, snow. The artist, an acclaimed Alaska painter who's collaborated with Miller before, has a particularly nice touch with the blue, blue-gray and lavender hues of Alaska snow. (No, it ISN'T just white!) The writer and artist show a heartfelt reverence for their subject, and their combination of carefully chosen words and images will inspire the same kind of wonder in young readers. 2003, Walker & Company, Ages 4 up.
— Donna Freedman