The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ted Lewin
The longest night of the year is very cold, very still. One of the creatures must bring back the sun. The wind knows which creature that is. Crow offers to fly up and bring back the sun. Moose offers his strength to bring it back. Fox offers to sniff and search it out. Chickadee though is the one who must bring back the sun. But what in the world can Chickadee do? She cannot fly high enough. She is not strong. She is not cunning. But she can do what she does best.
A poem woven into a picture book, this book is exquisite. Bauer’s poetry has a rhythm that is almost primal. She plays with sounds, repeats refrains, and celebrates imagery. Her poem is deep, thrumming with the energy of the forest. It is quiet and powerful. But most of all it is for children but without any pretense.
Lewin’s illustrations match Bauer’s poem so well. His illustrations explore the dark, the deep, the mysterious. They linger in blues, blacks and moonlight. Somehow he has captured that majestic blue of a moonlit night that is so deep and so unlike day. When the sun returns at the end of the book, one almost shields their eyes from the brightness. His illustrations are just as evocative as the poem, just as shining, just as powerful.
Highly recommended, this book belongs in every library. It will work for many units from poetry to winter to moon or sun. Share this. It is a pleasure to read aloud such wonderful writing. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
Reviewed from library copy.