Poetic phrases and gorgeous illustrations introduce readers to the harsh environment of the Arctic.
Stunted, ragged and lonely, a lone pine growing above the treeline witnesses the changes that the seasons bring throughout one Arctic year—from the snowy darkness of the winter months to the snowmelt and blooming of spring, the year completes its cycle in darkness once again: “The sun retreated. / The colors followed, hunted by the cold. / The world turned silver under black. / Bright stars freckled the sky. / The moon reclaimed its throne.” Frisch’s elegant language, while lovely, precludes this being used by the youngest audiences, who will notice the lack of a plot and may miss the allusions to migration and the northern lights. Delessert’s watercolor-and–colored-pencil artwork helps bridge this gap a little by bringing to life the colors and textures of the Artic. While a few of his animals look a little awkward, most scenes are filled with up-close views of the animals and landscape of the far north, the pine always visible, even if only the tips of its needles.
Beautifully turned phrases and perfectly captured descriptions beg for this to be used in middle- and high-school writing classes. (Picture book. 9-13)