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Groundwood Books

Once Upon a Northern Night

Written by Jean E. Pendziwol • Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

For kids 4 - 7 years old | Published August 01, 2013 | ISBN 9781554981380

Cover of Once Upon a Northern Night

Regular price $17.95 CAD

36 pages | 10.5 in × 8.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

Once Upon a Northern Night

Jean E. Pendziwol • Isabelle Arsenault

Once Upon a Northern Night has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal.

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 poem describes the forest of snow-covered pines, where a deer and fawn nibble a frozen apple, and a great gray owl swoops down with its feathers trailing through the snow. Two snowshoe hares scamper and play under the watchful eyes of a little fox, and a tiny mouse scurries in search of a midnight feast. When the snow clouds disappear, stars light up the sky, followed by the mystical shimmering of northern lights - all framed by the frost on the window.

Jean E. Pendziwol's lyrical poem reflects a deep appreciation of the magic of a northern winter night where, even as a child slumbers, the world outside does not rest but continues its own natural rhythms.

Isabelle Arsenault's spare, beautifully rendered illustrations, with their subtle but striking use of color, make us feel that we too are experiencing the enchantment of that northern night. They simultaneously evoke winter's nighttime life and the cozy warmth and security of a beloved child's sleep.

About the Creators

Jean E. Pendziwol

Jean E. Pendziwol is the author of Marja's Skis, Dawn Watch, and The Red Sash. She lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Isabelle Arsenault

Isabelle Arsenault is a very talented Quebec illustrator who has won an impressive number of awards and has achieved international recognition. She illustrated Migrant by Maxine Trottier, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and a finalist for the Governor General's Award, and Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, winner of the Governor General's Award. Visit Isabelle Arsenault's website:

Awards and Praise
A beautiful, lyrical celebration of northern light and night.
  • Commended Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, 2014
  • Short-listed The Governor General's Literary Awards-Children's Literature- Text, 2013
  • Commended Toronto Public Library's First and Best, 2013
  • Short-listed Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Picture Book Award, 2014
  • Runner-up Prix des Mini-Zinzins Cycle 3, 2016
  • Short-listed Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, 2014
  • Short-listed TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, 2014
  • Commended A Quill & Quire Book of the Year, 2013
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