Veteran 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.
PreS A companion volume to Rockwell's previous fine basic transportation books. In her familiar and popular style of bright watercolors and crisp lines, Rockwell's cheerful illustrations for this book are ``peopled'' with pigs; Boats (1982) has bears; Trucks (1984) is filled with cats; Cars (1984) is set in a canine country; and Planes (1985, all Dutton) uses rabbits. Bulldozers, dump trucks, cranes and such are described in a very simple text, and the appeal to young children is heightened by the stylistic use of the first-person plural. This book, like the others, is an excellent example of how to present information to young patrons: it is accurate, appealing, colorful, brief and interesting. A sure success for the preschool group.Connie Tyrell Burns, Morrisson-Reeves Library, Richmond, Ind.
The rhythms of the arctic year play out on the pages of this quietly lovely picture book. Successive double-paged spreads describe, month by month, the radical changes in daylight and temperature as the year progresses from one summer solstice to the next. Each spread features one type of animal going through its seasonal activities; six months later, that same animal appears again, adapting to the changes. Miller's quiet, present-tense text simply describes the conditions, spending special attention on the effects of the shortening or lengthening of the day; a bar extends across the top of every page to indicate relative length of day and night, times of sunrise and sunset, and average high and low temperatures (in Fahrenheit). Van Zyle's acrylics are equally simple, employing a variety of perspectives and effects to show off the unique beauties of the arctic without sentiment. A lovely treatment of a difficult concept and of a very special place. (glossary) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)