Bright Winter Night

Two Lions. Dec. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781542022248.
PreS-Gr 2–Rhyming couplets tell the tale of a diverse assemblage of forest animals sharing a magical winter night. Working as a team, a stag, bear, beaver, squirrel, mouse, rabbits, birds, and wolves all cooperate in constructing a sled: “Together they have built this sleigh, no one hunter, no one prey.” They put together the comfortable, iconic winter vehicle in order to travel to a forest clearing where they can participate in another group activity—reveling in the dazzling show of the northern lights. Watercolor, both paint and pencil, along with digital media, create a mainly blue and white color scheme with touches of brown, pink, and gray. The animal’s names are all in capital letters, and the placement of the poetic text varies from page to page throughout. Rounded, cartoon-style creatures have eyes reminiscent of Jon Klassen’s Bear and cooperate harmoniously as a Peaceable Kingdom–type of community.
VERDICT This winter tale would work well for dusky afternoon story hours in December or a bedtime story; the muted illustrations and the text, which has a perfect scan and beat, begin energetically but slow to soothing, steady levels as the animals settle down to sleep.

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