Once Upon A Northern Night

Once Upon A Northern Night

Book - 2013
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In this exquisite lullaby, a parent paints a picture of a northern winter night for their sleeping child, describing the beauty of a snowfall, the wild animals that appear in the garden, the twinkling stars, the gentle rhythm of the northern lights and the etchings of frost on the window pane.

As the young child sleeps, wrapped in a downy blanket, a snowflake falls, and then another and another. The parent describes the forest of snow-covered pines, seeing a deer and fawn nibbling a frozen apple, a great gray owl swooping down with its feathers trailing through the snow. Two snowshoe hare scamper and play under the watchful eyes of a little fox, and a tiny mouse scurries in search of a midnight feast. When the snow clouds disappear, stars light up the sky, followed by the magical shimmering of the northern lights -- all framed by the frost on the window.

Jean E. Pendziwol's lyrical poem reflects a deep appreciation of a northern winter night, a desire to share it with her sleeping child and the love that underlies that wish.

Isabelle Arsenault's spare, beautifully rendered illustrations, with their subtle but striking use of color, make us feel that we too are experiencing the enchantment of that northern night.
Publisher: Toronto : Groundwood Books, 2013.
ISBN: 9781554981380
Branch Call Number: PEN BEDTIME
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 28 cm.
Additional Contributors: Arsenault, Isabelle 1978-


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Jan 09, 2015

Nicely illustrated with black and white but it ends there . Found this a very boring book .

ChristchurchKids Jul 21, 2014

"Once upon a northern night, while you lay sleeping, wrapped in a downy blanket, I painted you a picture." Describing the natural wonder of a snowy night to a sleeping child, the unseen narrator of this picture book invokes the tone and atmosphere of a sweet, soothing lullaby. Muted, mostly black-and-white illustrations work marvelously with the hushed tone of the story, allowing the rare touches of colour to stand out with special brilliance. Whatever the weather outside, Once Upon a Northern Night is a cozy and captivating bedtime read.

Picture books newsletter July 2014

Feb 13, 2014

I'd like to begin by saying that this is a beautifully illustrated book, with poetry that will touch most any parent's heart. That being said, although this is a children's book, it is not one that most children would be drawn to. The intricate illustrations are in shades of black and white, and the prose is written in a style that is more geared to adults. As a grandmother, I'd love to have my own copy to place on my bookshelf or coffee table; however, my 5 year old granddaughter was completely bored with the book and with each page we read asked, "Can we please be done now?"

forbesrachel Jan 07, 2014

A shaded landscape slowly transforms page by page, giving a dash of a colour here and there, until it finally becomes a true vision of a winter wonderland.

With each repetition of "once upon a northern night", a new image is painted by the narrator with a graceful touch. Poetic words accompany these beautiful portraits, adding movement, sound, and imagery to the otherwise still and silent.

Similar to the real season, contrast emerges from this winter in both colour, and content. On the surface all may seem quiet, but this snowy night gradually comes to life as the forest's wildlife comes out of hiding.

Presented as a gift to the book's sleeping child, it is equally a gift to all who read it.


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