________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 17. . . .January 7, 2011

cover

Singing Away the Dark.

Caroline Woodward. Illustrated by Julie Morstad.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2010.
36 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-897476-41-3.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Natalie Schembri.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

"I must be brave," I tell myself.

The winds come howling from the North. My eyes begin to sting. I struggle on through endless snow, And all the time I sing.

Alongside Julie Morstad's absolutely charming and wintry illustrations, Caroline Woodward's story provides hopeful warmth as a little girl journeys to school through the dark forest one early winter morning. The illustrative plot moves from the forest's dark and mysterious shades of black, teal, and blue to more comforting scenes that reflect the protective glow of the luminous winter snow. The visual transition from darkness to light occurs as the little girl vocalizes a song of confidence to accompany her travels to school. As "the darkness disappears," the little girl is able to navigate her way through fields, fences, and trees with ease.

    "I sing for sun, I sing for strength, I sing for warm toes, too," declares the little girl. Her rhythmic words provide a comforting interior embrace that also functions to protect her from the fierce winter winds. Like her red wooly mittens and charcoal-colored pom-pom hat, the little girl's song offers a defense from the "creaks and groans and hoots and howls" of the natural world.

    Woodward's eloquently phrased words enlist the reader in an entirely moving experience through the wintry pages and snow-covered hills of Singing Away the Dark. Most notably, Woodward's poetic story provides readers, young and old, with a celebration of language through a little girl who finds consolation in the power of song.

    I would highly recommend Singing Away the Dark for school and public libraries. The lovely combination of language and illustration makes this story an ideal and heartening read to soothe the fearful sound of blustering winds and the image of dark skies this winter season.

Highly Recommended.

Natalie Schembri, a Masters student living in London, ON, is a firm believer and promoter of literature and lifelong learning.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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