THE SHORTEST DAY, by Susan Cooper (Newberry Medal Winner), Illustrated by Carson Ellis (Caldecott Honor Winner), Candlewick Press


In this seasonal treasure, Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper’s beloved poem heralds the winter solstice, illuminated by Caldecott Honoree Carson Ellis’s strikingly resonant illustrations.

So the shortest day came,
and the year died . . .

As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again. Written for a theatrical production that has become a ritual in itself, Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day” captures the magic behind the returning of the light, the yearning for traditions that connect us with generations that have gone before — and the hope for peace that we carry into the future. Richly illustrated by Carson Ellis with a universality that spans the centuries, this beautiful book evokes the joy and community found in the ongoing mystery of life when we celebrate light, thankfulness, and festivity at a time of rebirth. Welcome Yule!

Out October 2019

32 Pages


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

This book has a beautiful book jacket that protects a yellow hardback with a lovely raised sun in its front middle.

This book is about traditions, hope, and light. It speaks of what a new day brings, for with the light, comes new beginnings, new adventures… a new day. It’s a beautiful poem that celebrates our own history, beliefs and origins. How old traditions affect the new, how the new ends as old only to rejoice in being reborn again.

The artwork is beautiful and full of color and effects. It compliments the prose precisely and allows the reader to disappear in thought, clearly seeing what the words hope to convey. I love this book. A brilliant keepsake!

As a picture book, it’s for the more advanced beginner reader, one who can understand harder words although I’m not certain they would understand meaning of those words without having them explained. This entire poem would best serve its reader by being read and explained by a parent. The author’s extra explanation at the back is more geared to the parent or person reading this book to the child.

Its vision and insightful awareness is meant to be shared, even with our youngest of readers.

I gave it:


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