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Under the Night Sky

Under the Night Sky

5.0 2
by Amy Lundebrek
* Moonbeam Gold Award
• Winter has a special beauty for those living in northern climates--even for those who live in cities. And winter nights can provide the most spectacular sights of all!
To her son's great surprise, a working, single mom breaks her routine one night and rushes her son downstairs to join their neighbors as they spontaneously celebrate


* Moonbeam Gold Award
• Winter has a special beauty for those living in northern climates--even for those who live in cities. And winter nights can provide the most spectacular sights of all!
To her son's great surprise, a working, single mom breaks her routine one night and rushes her son downstairs to join their neighbors as they spontaneously celebrate the beauty of the northern lights--the aurora borealis. Nature is the central character in this story, and the spell it weaves provides this mother and son with a special moment they can look back on with great happiness.

Editorial Reviews

Teaching Tolerance
“Books celebrating single-parent families are all too rare,
and this one is a valuable addition to any collection.”
Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
When the single mom returns from work, her son expects her to quietly place her keys and boots in their usual places and gently kiss him good night as she always does. Instead, his mom comes bounding into the tiny urban apartment and, borne on the wings of excitement, urges her son out of bed and into his warm clothes. Not until he is outside and wedged between other friends on the hood of their old car does he look up and discover the reason for the delightful break in their routine. Flickering and dancing in the northern sky is the aurora borealis. Mother and son are drawn together in a poignant moment of tenderness, neighbors watch in silence, and old wounds are forgotten in the magic of the moment. Lundebrek interweaves a world of whirling verbs as she verbally paints the lights and shadows that Rich reproduces in visual shapes, shadows, and colors just right for the night. The young boy's scientific friend even gives an explanation of the beautiful phenomenon. A variety of elements make this book one that will be savored by children and adults alike. Reviewer: Janice DeLong
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

A boy and his mother experience the magic of the northern lights with their neighbors. At first, the dark colors and mysterious tone of the first-person narrator seem foreboding as the mother hurries home from her evening job and orders her son to put on his outdoor clothes. Although she assures him that nothing is wrong, he and the other children who have been rushed into the building's parking lot to sit atop their cars are confused until they look up to view the night sky. The panoramic painting of the purple and green bursts of color against a star-studded sky is breathtaking. The boy describes what he sees: "Sometimes the color oozes from one part of the sky to the other. The lights twist like colored ropes. They flicker like colored flames." His mother takes advantage of this beautiful moment to whisper that she will always be on his side, even if they disagree on things. The art is done in a dark palette, and the text appears to one side on a white background that sharply contrasts with the illustrations. There are few, if any, picture books about the aurora borealis. This one fills that gap nicely.-Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

Kirkus Reviews

The residents of an apartment building, in particular a mother and son, are brought together by the aurora borealis. The young boy's nightly routine rarely varies—he gets into bed when his across-the-hall neighbor tells him but secretly stays awake until his mother gets home. That's why it is so out of the ordinary when she pounds loudly up the stairs, telling him to pull on his outdoor things. Her smile reassures him, but he is still curious—even more when the neighbors join them outside. They sit together in the parking lot, looking up at the night sky. There, the colorful northern lights flicker and flash. Against this wonder, the mother reminds her son that they will not always agree about things and may argue, but that this night should remind him that she is on his side and will try to give him life's best. Rich's dark, jewel-toned colors light the night sky and reflect on the faces of the neighbors. Her paintings tremble with a feeling of anticipation and a sense that magic is in the air. Lundebrek's debut celebrates nature's power to transform the ordinary. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Tilbury House Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.50(d)
AD600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

What People are Saying About This

Martha Davis Erickson
This exquisite picture book captures the magic that happens when people of any age suspend their ordinary routines and open their eyes to the joy and wonder of the natural world. The book invites us—whoever we are, wherever we live—to experience the health, healing, and hope that nature offers us as individuals, families, and communities. So snuggle up with a child you love, read this heartwarming story, then go outside and see what you can discover together. (Martha Davis Erickson, founding board member of the Children & Nature Network, a group dedicated to reconnecting children and nature)

Meet the Author

Author Amy Lundebrek lives Champlin, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan.
She has a degree in Biology and works as a research associate in a cell culture lab. She enjoys hiking and camping, canoeing and kayaking,
painting and sculpture.

Anna Rich says her career as an illustrator began in kindergarten, where she much preferred coloring and drawing to her other classwork. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and has illustrated many picture books, including From My Window by Olive Wong,
Just Right Stew by Karen English, Annie's Gifts by Angela Medaris,
Cleveland Lee's Beale Street Band by Arthur Flowers, and Saturday at the
New You by Barbara Barber. She lives in Elmwood, New York, with her son and her husband.

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Under the Night Sky 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
MomsChoiceAwards More than 1 year ago
Under the Night Sky is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books; and Tara Paterson, Certified Parent Coach and founder of the Mom's Choice Awards. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.
storiesforchildren More than 1 year ago
A young boy who lives in an apartment building located in the far north is surprised one late winter night when his mother comes home from work and instead of kissing him good night so that he can go to sleep she tells him to get up and get dressed quickly. Along with their neighbors, Ms. Gallo and her three children, they rush downstairs and outside to sit on the roof of their old Mercury and join other neighbors to watch a spectacular phenomenon of nature. What is this celebration all about?
There are many things to like about this book which make it such an fascinating read. There is the joy of community, even in a northern climate during the coldest time of the year. There is also the bond of family when a mother and son share a special moment that they can remember with great happiness. But above all, there is the sense of wonder at the beauty of nature, including that special beauty offered to make up for the harshness of the long northern winter. The muted illustrations of Anna Rich help to emphasize this sense of wonder. And for those of who do not live so far north, there is the added benefit of information about the aurora borealis and why it occurs. Teachers and parents can visit the Tilbury House website for a special take home section to use with the book that features activities, discussion points, and further resources. Kudos to author Amy Lundebrek for such an engaging story.