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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dusk, written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz. Margaret Ferguson Books, Farrar Straus Giroux, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2013. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"I swear I declare
I'll search here and there.
I'll search till I find
the best of its kind.
Toys for my girls
and toys for my boys,"
said man with cravat."

Master storyteller and artist Uri Shulevitz begins his story simply. It's winter and a grandfather, his grandson and dog are out for a stroll on another of winter's short days. At the river, their eyes are drawn to the brilliant beauty of the sun's light as it says farewell to that short day. The boy is sad.

Their walk takes them back to the city, where the hustle and bustle of its residents is evident on streets and sidewalks. We meet some of the shoppers as they appear to be making important preparations for toys, food, desserts and alien gobbledy-gook:

"Dusky musky, dusky zdat,
Kholidaysky ikla zat,
sveet candoosky ikla
bedy funnye ikla zdat,"
said visitor from planet

As the natural light of the sunny day ebbs, the city lights takes it place, glimmering and glittering as the three continue their walk. More and more lights brighten the sidewalks, storefronts and window displays. As we catch a glimpse of three windows set side by side, we are suddenly aware, for the first time, that this book celebrates the holiday lights as well...a menorah, a Christmas tree and a kinara promise celebrations for many. There is light everywhere we look! The boy is no longer so sad at the loss of sunlight; he appreciates the beauty of the city light that now surrounds him,

The quiet moments of the earlier walk are contrasted with the energy of the city as they stroll amiably along its brightly-lit streets and avenues. Mr. Shulevitz's art is breathtaking. He fills the pages with light and shadow, spectacular color which is both warm and cool, and details that are sure to inspire conversations about what is happening at every turn.

It is a worthy companion book to Snow (Farrar, 2004). If you want to experience the magic that light can bring to a winter landscape, you need to see this wondrous book! It is a journey you will want to make in order to truly appreciate the beauty of this holiday season.



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