Once Upon a Northern Night
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Once Upon a Northern Night

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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  187 ratings  ·  62 reviews
In this exquisite lullaby, the beauty and wonder of a northern winter night unfold, with images of a soft 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...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Groundwood Books
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Most Anticipated Picture Books of 2013
22nd out of 99 books — 107 voters
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Across Canada
3rd out of 47 books — 18 voters


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Community Reviews

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Tamara
My Review

If you think winter has lost all of its magic, think again.

Favorite Quote

Soon
the night sky filled with
sparkling specks of white,
crowding
and floating,
tumbling down to the welcoming
ground
until the earth was
wrapped in a downy blanket,
just like you.
Carrie Gelson
I don't think this book could be any more beautiful. Makes winter seem absolute magic. One of my all time favourite titles of the year. No contest.
Claire
This is a gorgeous picture book, and a perfect night time read aloud. Filled with poems (by Jean E. Pendziwol) like:

"Soon
the night sky filled with
sparkling specks of white,
crowding
and floating,
tumbling down to the welcoming
ground
until the earth was
wrapped in a downy blanket,
just like you."

I love the illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault, too. Being a nature lover, I adored the deer, owl, rabbits and fox pictures. My only complaint was the double page spread of the owl was off center in the boo...more
Jane G Meyer
A lyrical lullaby, Once Upon a Northern Night would be a lovely story to read over and over again to a child during the early winter months... The text reads as poetry, with vivid, child-friendly imagery:

"Once upon a norther night
a small,
small mouse
with big,
big ears
scurried along the deck,
searching.

Across the table,
mounded with snowy white
like vanilla ice cream,
he ran,
tunneling beneath the drifts
to a midnight feast of seeds
that lay scattered
beneath the bird feeder."

The muted illustrations give...more
Kathleen
Lull your child to sleep with the gentle repetition of Jean E. Pendziwol’s poetic vision: an alluringly peaceful winter evening in the North, where the snow falls gracefully and the forest animals leave tracks as they prance toward their food. Careful descriptions of how a mother deer leads her fawn and how the narrator will set the sparkling stars, “like diamonds on the branches of the willow” as an image for the sleeping child to marvel at in the morning, demonstrate a parent’s desire to share...more
Amanda
This book will forever hold mixed feelings for me because of what happened when I read it with Madam. *deep frustration* BEFORE I read it with Madam, I LOVED this book, it was poetry; it was my childhood encapsulated; it was so quietly beautiful how could I not want to share it with my girl who I loved best? How could she not love it?

REALITY: Madam fought with me almost the entire way through this book--which is NOT like her--maybe she was too tired and I didn't see it? Every single bloody page...more
Tasha
This glimmering book takes a lingering and loving look at a Canadian winter night. It starts just before the snow begins to fall, one flake then more. Then the ground is covered with a snowy blanket, a blanket just like the one you are sleeping under. The book goes on to talk about the beauty of the winter forest, snow that will dust your head and nose as you pass under the trees. Animals appear; the deer munch on the frozen apples, a great gray owl silently drifts by, rabbits scamper only going...more
Helen
Reviewed at http://canlitforlittlecanadians.blogs... on June 16, 2013.

Think of those cold Canadian winter nights, when the fallen snow has us cocooned inside and a quiet stillness blankets the land. A confetti of snow flakes drift beyond the windows, mounding on branches, railings, and the hidden promises of spring. If you can place yourself in this divine winter scene and know of a child with whom you may share this, Once Upon a Northern Night will be a lovely addition to your lullaby collecti...more
Kelly Tromburg Frisk
This book by Canadian author, Jean E. Pendziwol has endpapers in black with white silhouetted plants. Perhaps they are catching the moonlight. The front dust jacket labels this piece a lyrical poem. I am impressed by simple color palette and dreamlike quality of the pictures. The illustrations are large and mostly full-bleed. This is nighttime, wintertime, animal mischief at its best. Meanwhile a child slumbers and wakes to a beautiful snowy masterpiece.
Robin
Text reads like a poem - refrain of "Once upon a northern night"

Illustrations mostly black and white with splashes of color; different on different pages -- green bristles of pine, red apples that deer nibble on, yellow eyes of the owl, auburn of the fox (which seems so recognizably Arsenault). Illustrations done in mixed media (pencil, gouache, watercolor & ink) and assembled digitally.

Definite sense of place - Canadian author & illustrator
Melanie
A dreamlike book in gentle greys, blacks and whites with color splashed in when needed. These illustrations would have made this book a strong Caldecott contender if it had been illustrated by an American artist.

While a young boy sleeps a non-identified narrator speaks of snow falling, animal interactions and the Northern lights. A beautiful book best used in a one-on-one setting.
Becky
Feb 04, 2014 Becky rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Becky by: Robin
One of those beautiful books where the words are as exquisite as the pictures. A lovely winter lullaby that would pair well with The Snowman or The Quiet Book.
Westerville
One of those beautiful books where the words are as exquisite as the pictures. - Becky, Youth Services

Reserve a library copy.
Rachel
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...more
Adrienne Savoldi
A breath. That's the best way to describe this book. It's like listening to the wind gently speak to you, painting you a picture as your eyes devour Isabelle Arsenault's gorgeous illustrations.
Elizabeth
William and I loved this. The author has painted with words a description of the magic of a snowy winter night.
H. Dickson
Beautiful, haunting words, like lyrics to a lullaby.
Leanne Hooper
Stunning illustration with beautiful texture.
Lauren Stringer
Lyrically written and beautifully illustrated.
Kathy
Beautiful illustrations!
Katie
I loved this!!!
Linda
This is just the cozy book to read on a snowy night, those nights that are happening right now in the snowstorm east, and in our Rocky Mountains. A mother or father tells this little boy, already covered and sleeping of the beautiful night painted just for him, from the snowshoe hares playing to the silent owl sweeping feathers in the snow to the stars fastened in the willows, it’s a beautiful lullaby of a book.
Clarisajo
The book is beautifully illustrated and the words are very soothing.
Andi
An absolutely breathtaking picture book. The story is enveloped in beautiful worded imagery that, while coupled with Arsenault's stunning illustrations, encourages the reader to draw from their own memories of that first magical snowfall of Winter. The entire work is soft and delicate yet bold and animated. Love, love this book!
Edward Sullivan
A wonderful, magical book for bedtime reading.
Margie
There is something very special about the poetry of the narrative coupled with the illustrations. A deep appreciation for our natural world as well as love for a child lifts this title into the realm of classic.

My full review: http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2...
Keri
Beautiful book! Thanks to Uncle Dave and Aunt Shannon for giving it to us. Autographed too! Plan to use it in my Grade 1/2 classroom as well.
Jessica
The use of language in this book is exquisite! This book transported me to Switzerland and log cabins----and you just stare at this snow covered land in marvelous wonder. The pictures were done----and even the space of the words within the large white paces enhanced the beauty of the book.
Holly
Lyrical and magical. Reminds me of Owl Moon and Twilight Comes Twice in its description and tone. I read the summary and saw that it was described as a parent telling the story to a child, but I could also see it from the point of view of God, making it a spiritual story.
Barbara
Mixed media illustrations and melodic lines celebrate the wonders of winter with its snowflakes, dark, star-filled skies, and animals. Readers will almost be able to see the snowshoe hares at play and note the artistry displayed by the ice that forms on trees and bushes.
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