Seb’s coastal village lies so far north the sun doesn’t shine during winter, making even daytime beach treasure hunts with his walrus companion “cold, dreary, and dark as night.”
Wearing his distinctive, Viking-horned winter hat, Seb sets out to find some sun for his small but diverse community. Little, pale Seb greets local friends: “old Bruce Brewster,” a darker-skinned, bearded fisherman; a bespectacled white knitter named Mrs. Vandermuss; a mixed group of miners sipping soup and coffee; and Mr. and Mrs. Muktuk, cued as Pacific Northwest Native Americans who wear furred parkas and carve totem poles. These neighbors provide pockets of warmth, light, and encouragement. Similarly, Gigot’s artwork, while overcast, provides engrossing details in street and window vignettes, with patches of lemony yellows and arctic whites contributing buoying moments of firelight, lamplight, and snow. The text, set in a candlelight yellow, glows on inky backgrounds. Readers might squint at what seem at first to be gloomy, digitally painted pencil illustrations, but they will soon feel lifted in noting people of varying skin tones, occupations, and ages, all engaged in productive work. Seb feels his work is to find sunlight for his neighbors, even if it means rowing all the way out to sea. Some might find the ending contrived, but it’s hard not to feel warmed by a luminous resolution so full of love.
Otherworldly but with luminous pictures of a remote community. (Picture book. 4-6)