The Sugaring-Off Party

The Sugaring-Off Party

3.0 1
by Jonathan London, Gilles Pelletier

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A French-Canadian grandmother reminisces about her first sugaring-off party, complete with music, dancing, and lots of food. The primitive-style pictures are lush and colourful.  See more details below


A French-Canadian grandmother reminisces about her first sugaring-off party, complete with music, dancing, and lots of food. The primitive-style pictures are lush and colourful.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tapping into the experiences of his wife's French-Canadian family, London (Let's Go, Froggy; The Owl Who Became the Moon) infuses this tale with warmth and authenticity. Paul snuggles on the sofa with Grand-mre and hears the story of her first sugaring-off party-a fete celebrating the spring flow of sap from the maple trees. London, with a poet's sensitivity for nuance and atmosphere, captures in prose the very essence of happy family rituals. Grand-mre tells of snow fights, vats of sap boiling on the wood stove, rich food, dancing, ornery cousins and sleigh rides. ``You must come back next year,'' Grand-mre recalls being told by a favorite aunt. ``It's a tradition, n'est-ce pas? And we must keep our traditions alive.'' This sweet appeal is echoed in Pelletier's distinctive folk art. Using thick, glowing oils to build detailed compositions, the artist evokes the merriment and innocent mischief of a finger-licking good time. Ages 3-7. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Young Paul is snuggled next to Grand-mère as a late winter " Sugar Moon" rises in the night sky. It is a perfect time to hear about grandmother's adventures at maple-sugaring parties in French Canada during her childhood long ago. There is much cooking, eating, dancing, playing, and best of all, tasting la tire-maple sugar popsicles. London's nostalgic story is nicely set off by Pelletier's bright naive paintings. A charming book to cozy up with on a winter's eve.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Paul's Grandmere, "with her bird-fragile bones," tells him about the family's tradition of maple sugaring when she was young. Family and friends met at Tante Loulou's to celebrate the coming of spring after the long cold winter in Montreal. The story makes readers want to participate in the yearly celebration. This is storytelling at its most infectious with snippets of French adding an exotic voice to the rhythmic telling. The folk paintings capture the frolicking nature of the party. Long live traditions!
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-The day before Paul's first maple-sugaring party, he asks his grandmother to tell him about her first sugaring-off, long ago. Grand-mre describes the family's sleigh journey to Tante Loulou's sugar bush, the songs and games, the feasting and dancing, and the delicious maple syrup candy. London's evocative text perfectly re-creates the thrill and excitement of this coming-of-spring ritual. Pelletier's folk-art paintings, reminiscent of Grandma Moses's work, match the nostalgic tone of this story set in Canada. Children will enjoy the bright colors and pore over the details, but they may question why young Grand-mre, who describes herself as ``tiny,'' is the same size as her older sisters. A glossary at the end of the book defines the French-Canadian terms and gives pronunciations (though place names and words used in the illustrations are not included). Kathryn Lasky's Sugaring Time (Macmillan, 1983) and Diane Burns's Sugaring Season (Carolrhoda, 1990) are for older readers and concentrate on the mechanics of the maple-syrup process. The Sugaring-Off Party is a joyful celebration.-Ann W. Moore, Guilderland Public Library, NY

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Product Details

Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
4 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jonathan London
Jonathan has written many books for children, including Dream Weaver, illustrated by Rocco Baviera, and most recently, Froggy's Baby Sister. Jonathan lives with his wife, Maureen in Northern California.

Gilles Pelletier
Gilles's colourful paintings adorned antique furniture, old tools, and even milk cans for years before he illustrated his first children's book. In fact, it was an interest in collecting and restoring antiques that led him into the world of art. Pelletier's highly colourful work is enhanced by his sense of humour and love of tradition. He, his wife and several cats live in Ormstown, Quebec, in a house reminiscent of the one he painted for A Happy New Year's Day, his first picture book.

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The Sugaring-Off Party 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Jonathan London's The Sugaring-Off Party, Paul's grandmother recalls her first sugaring-off. She describes the thrills of the winter Canadian tradition, which includes dancing, music, feasting, and joyful competition. Meanwhile, Paul listens quietly to the beautiful language London expresses through the narrative of Grand-mere. Through Lodon's careful and alluring word choice, the book will make children drool with his descriptions of homemade muffins and jams. The Sugaring-Off Party can teach younger children te beauty and music of language. However, with paragraphs on every other page, it may intimidate a younger child. Perhaps it will be more effective when read to preschoolers or first graders as a sort of lullaby to assure a night of pleasant dreams. Although the writing is excellent, in some ways, the illustrations are monotonous, for it seems as though the colors are used again and again in the pages. The colors are not bright, but perhaps this was done on purpose by Gilles Pelletier to give the cold, lurid mood of the winter. The details of the small foods are delicate and well-done, but the bigger general illustrations are more disappointing. It is recommended that the reader look closely at the pictures to appreciate their fine details. Overall, this paperback is a book of warmth, family, and tradition, which are all most essential to a child's life. One can almost feel the warmth of the sugaring-off despite the cold and unforgiving winter when turning the pages of this pleasant book. Sure to delight the young, it will also cause adults to reflect upon innocent pasts.