Lucia and the Light

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Overview

Luminously illustrated by Mary GrandPré, a timeless adventure from master storyteller Phyllis Root about the loss of the sun — and one girl's brave quest to find it

In a cozy cabin high in the mountains of the Far North, Lucia and her family live a snug and contented life. But one day the wind screams fiercely and the sun does not rise over the mountain. Someone has stolen the sun! "Perhaps it has lost its way," says Lucia, who despite her mother's pleas sets out to find it with...

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Overview

Luminously illustrated by Mary GrandPré, a timeless adventure from master storyteller Phyllis Root about the loss of the sun — and one girl's brave quest to find it

In a cozy cabin high in the mountains of the Far North, Lucia and her family live a snug and contented life. But one day the wind screams fiercely and the sun does not rise over the mountain. Someone has stolen the sun! "Perhaps it has lost its way," says Lucia, who despite her mother's pleas sets out to find it with only a bit of bread, a tinderbox, and her milk-white cat to keep her company. In dramatic pastels, Mary GrandPré illuminates troll-pocked frozen mountains and wraps Lucia's family in a blanket of warmth. Inspired by Nordic lore, Phyllis Root spins a golden yarn of courage, love, and the age-old longing for the return of light.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Root (Big Momma Makes the World) draws deftly from Nordic folklore to shape this tidy tale set high in the mountains of the Far North, where Lucia lives in a cozy cabin with her mother, baby brother, "velvet-brown cow" and "milk-white cat." One fierce, windy winter, the sun fails to rise over the mountaintop for days on end; in the dark cabin, the baby begins to "fret and fuss," the cow stops giving milk and the "fire smoked and shivered and refused to heat the corners of the house or bake the bread." GrandePr (Sweep Dreams) paints the shadows stretching eerily along the cabin's walls, yet still maintains the warm bonds of the small family. Against her mother's wishes, Lucia and her cat set out in the darkness to climb the mountain where the sun once rose. When they finally reach the peak, Lucia encounters fearsome-looking, hungry trolls who tell her they have hidden the sun away and that they intend to eat her. The brave lass tries to distract them, but it is the quick-thinking feline who manages to unravel the sun's wrappings. As the light washes over the mountainous terrain, the palette of GrandePr 's incandescent pastel art changes dramatically. Shades of gray and blue give way to brilliant, warm hues. Lucia's triumphant homecoming brings this winter adventure to a sunny close. Ages 5-8. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Lucia and her family have lived happily together in the Far North, even in the cold winters, until one year when frost covers everything and one day when the sun does not rise. As the cold, dark days continue and food runs low, Lucia determines to go find the sun. With the milk-white cat for company, she skies up the mountain, through the snow and dark, toward the place where the sun used to shine. She is met at the top of the mountain by wicked trolls who have rolled the sun into a blanket. As they taunt her, the cat knocks the rolled-up ball away until it releases the sun and the trolls turn to stone. The world comes back to life in the sunlight, in this folklike tale inspired by Nordic lore, as Lucia's mother happily hugs her and welcomes her home. Grandpre's pastels create atmospheric double-page scenes, theatrical as the cover portrait of our appealing heroine and her cat demonstrate. The title page's autumn setting is followed by a snow-covered winter spread. Once inside the cabin, we find the family rendered in a naturalistic style that emphasizes the romantic, furthered in the blue-dominated scenes that follow. Even the giant ugly trolls tend toward the comic, while the final few yellow-orange-drenched pages evoke the joy of reunion, along with the return of the precious light of the sun featured in so many folk tales.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Lucia, her mother, and baby brother live in a small isolated cabin in the Far North. As the snows mount and the winds howl around their tiny home, their food supplies dwindle. One morning, the sun does not rise. Darkness envelops Lucia's world and when the cow stops giving milk, the brave child decides to go out into the world and bring the sun home again. She skis and trudges on in spite of adversity and fear and faces the terrible trolls. Of course, Lucia succeeds, returning home to her mother's love and a beautiful light-dappled world. This heartwarming adventure will delight girls and boys with its terrifying trolls and triumphant travails. GrandPr illuminates the tale with soft, fluid multihued paintings that vividly convey both danger and sunlight-filled safety and warmth. This fablelike story is a wonderful companion to Mordicai Gerstein's Carolinda Clatter! (Roaring Brook, 2005) and perhaps a favorite version of "Jack and the Beanstalk."-Tamara E. Richman, Somerset County Library System, Bridgewater, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In Root's original pourquois tale, Lucia skis up a mountain to find the sun that has abandoned her wintry land. Accompanied by the family's clever "milk-white cat," she's menaced by giant trolls, who've hidden the sleeping sun to prevent its light from impeding their nonstop gorging. They taunt Lucia with a game of keep-away, using the rag-wrapped ball they claim is the sun. Lucia tries fooling them into thinking she's got the sun by igniting moss in the tinderbox she brought-but the marauders are nonplussed. Before they can eat Lucia and "the pussums," the cat bats the orb, which, losing its wrappings, rolls "right off the edge of the mountaintop and up into the sky, growing bigger and brighter as it climbed." Root's smooth, folkloric narration suits the story, but allowing the cat the glory renders Lucia less heroic. GrandPre's charming full-bleed pastel illustrations effectively use perspective and color to show small Lucia's pluck in taking on both the harsh landscape and the trolls. In all, a sturdy, satisfying venture. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763622961
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/10/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.07 (w) x 11.68 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Phyllis Root has written more than thirty books for children, including WHAT BABY WANTS, OLIVER FINDS HIS WAY, KISS THE COW!, and BIG MOMMA MAKES THE WORLD, winner of a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Award. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mary GrandPré's ethereal pastel paintings grace the pages of several picture books, including SWEEP DREAMS by Nancy Willard and PLUM: POEMS by Tony Mitton, as well as the jackets of the Harry Potter series. She lives in Sarasota, Florida.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    AN ENABLING STORY FROM NORDIC LORE

    Mary Grandpre's full page luminous pastel paintings are perfect companions for this tale set in the snow covered far North. Lucia, her mother and baby brother lived in a small house at the foot of a mountain. It was the coldest winter Lucia had ever known. Why, wind came through the cracks in their house and 'tossed the last of the flour in the barrel around.' Even worse, the sun did not come up, not for three days. It was total darkness. Lucia's mother hugged her and said, 'We will be each other's sun until the real sun returns.' However, the constant night made the baby fretful and their cow gave no milk, so Lucia went out into the cold to look for the sun. Her little white cat had jumped into the hood of her jacket so she was not alone. This was fortunate as it took her a long time to climb the mountain and she was so tired that she lay down in the snow. Fortunately, her cat bit her chin and awakened her or she might have frozen there just like old Bjorn 'frozen stiff and hard as cordwood.' What she did not know was that fearsome trolls lived on that mountain. They taunted and teased Lucia, telling her a rag ball was the sun. As it turned out they were no match for a little girl and her cat. Young readers will enjoy this story from Nordic lore, and admire the courage of a small child. - Gail Cooke

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