The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis

Published by Candlewick

Image result for shortest day carson ellis"

Image result for shortest day carson ellis"

Summary:  Susan Cooper’s poem, originally created in 1974 for Christmas Revels, celebrates the winter solstice.  “So the shortest day came,/and the year died,/And everywhere down the centuries/of the snow-white world/Came people singing, dancing,/To drive the dark away.”  People are shown celebrating, bundled up against the cold, with torches and fire to light the long, dark night. As the sun finally rises, they celebrate and give thanks.  Illustrations include a Christmas tree, wreath, holly, and a menorah. An author’s note gives the history of her poem, with the full text printed on the last page. 32 pages; grades K-5.

Pros:  A beautiful book to share in December; it’s a celebration without connections to any particular religious holiday (unless you count the solstice).  The poem is lovely, and the gorgeous illustrations perfectly capture the darkness, light, and spirit of celebration.

Cons:  This may be a little over the heads of younger kids, who will undoubtedly still choose The Polar Express as their preferred holiday fare.

Image result for shortest day carson ellis"

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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