Once Upon a Northern Night

Once Upon a Northern Night

Written by: Pendziwol, Jean E.
Illustrated by: Arsenault, Isabelle
ages 4 to 7 / grades K to 2

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.

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.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Jul 29, 2013
Specifications 36 pages | 8.5 in x 10.5 in
Written By

JEAN E. PENDZIWOL’s highly acclaimed picture books include I Found Hope in a Cherry Tree, illustrated by Nathalie Dion; Me and You and the Red Canoe, illustrated by Phil; and Once Upon a Northern Night, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (finalist for the Governor General’s Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award). Jean’s adult novel, The Lightkeeper’s Daughters, has been published in more than thirteen languages. She lives in Northwestern Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior.

Illustrated by

ISABELLE ARSENAULT is an internationally renowned children’s book illustrator. Her award-winning books include Jane, the Fox and Me and Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt, Spork and Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky (BolognaRagazzi Award) and Colette’s Lost Pet, which marked her debut as an author. She has won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature three times, and three of her picture books have been named as New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Isabelle lives in Montreal, Quebec, with her family.

Audience ages 4 to 7 / grades K to 2
Reading Levels Lexile AD1020L

Short-listed, The Governor General's Literary Awards-Children's Literature- Text, 2013

Commended, Toronto Public Library's First and Best, 2013

Commended, A Quill & Quire Book of the Year, 2013

Short-listed, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, 2014

Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Picture Book Award, 2014

Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, 2014

Short-listed, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, 2014

Runner-up, Prix des Mini-Zinzins Cycle 3, 2016

“A beautiful, lyrical celebration of northern light and night.” —Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

“A reverent ode to the magic and wonder of an icy winter night.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] mixture of magic, wildlife and deep comfort.” —New York Times

“This is a lovely wintry bedtime story, best for sharing one-on-one.” —School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

““A sweet and lovely tale of the magic of waking up to a world transformed by winter.”” —Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

"A beautiful, lyrical celebration of northern light and night." — Kirkus Review, STARRED REVIEW

"A reverent ode to the magic and wonder of an icy winter night." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"This is a lovely wintry bedtime story, best for sharing one-on-one." — School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"“A sweet and lovely tale of the magic of waking up to a world transformed by winter.”" — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

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