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GATHERING by Betsy Bowen


A Northwoods Counting Book

by Betsy Bowen & illustrated by Betsy Bowen

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-316-10371-3
Publisher: Little, Brown

 Bowen follows up her boundary waters alphabet book Antler, Bear, Canoe (1991) with a book of numbers that follows the sun's rays through the seasons. Not for those with seasonal affective disorder, this book emphasizes the flurry of summer activity that occurs on northern climates, in preparation for nine months of winter. Swimming, berry picking, fishing, and collecting wild rice fill the short months of summer, to when savored later, when the snow falls. The wood grain and bright colors of Bowen's block prints evoke an environment of trees, mosquitoes, loons, and pine, bathed in the light of a clear, if sometimes cold, sun. The narrator explains that in spring, ``we'' (a family) must think ahead to the months when temperatures will hit zero, and start preparations immediately. Readers count through summer and fall, concluding with 12 inches of snow in winter. The concept is simple and pure, with each act a celebration of a special way of life. The only thing missing in this book is a section on negative numbers, to record the thermometer readings of -34¯ in darkest December! (Picture book. 4-8)