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