Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Children's Book Review: Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
written by: Tony Johnston, illustrated by: Jim LaMarche
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

Witness the changing of a season through a watchful child’s eyes in this story of nature and discovery from award-winning author Tony Johnston and New York Times Best Illustrated artist Jim La Marche.

Day after day, a girl goes to her favorite place in the woods and quietly watches from her tree house as the chipmunks, the doe, the rabbits prepare for the winter. As the temperature drops, sunset comes earlier and a new season begins. Silently she observes the world around her as it reveals its secrets. It takes time and patience to see the changes as, slowly but surely, winter comes.

It is a cold September day.
Fall is still here but ice
is in the air. I feel it.
Winter is coming.

     Fabulous through and through. Winter Is Coming is a truly beautiful children's book in every aspect - from the lyrical writing and gorgeously depicted autumn atmosphere, to the absolutely phenomenal illustrations by Jim LaMarche. 

Image courtesy of
     A young girl sensitive to the nature, curious and obviously quite knowledgeable observes animals carefully from her hiding spot - a platform up in a tree - as they're preparing for Winter. She's quiet and respectful of those that come through the clearing, taking care not to spook them, or disturb them in any way. She watches them from up above, sketching silently in her notebook. September through late November, she visits the same spot and describes what she sees, drawing the animals she meets - a red fox, a mother bear with her cub, a group of skunks and many others. 

Image courtesy of
    The illustrations are warm and very fitting - done in shades of red, orange and brown, bringing to mind autumn leaves, warm apple cider and pumpkins. They're nicely toned downed and very eye-catching, and they elevate the story to a whole new level of gorgeous and memorable. My daughter loves looking at the carefully drawn, detailed pictures. And I have to admit, I do too. They really complement the story perfectly, and I can't help but admire them every time I reach for this book.

     Winter Is Coming is gentle, flavorful and almost poetic. The young girl shows remarkable appreciation of nature and respect for wilderness, and I think this book will help parents inspire their own children to love and admire animals, and better understand the cycle of life with all its seasonal changes. My daughter and I will be reaching for this little gem often. 

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