Monday, December 14, 2015
Winter Candle, written by Jeron Ashford and illustrated by Stacey Schuett. Creston Books, 2014. $20.95 ages 6 and up
flame shimmered and grew.
It glittered on the falling
snowflakes until the dark
street spun with stars. Many
blocks away, Papa slowly
steered the big truck through
snow-covered streets. What
did that sign say? Pine Street?
Vine Street? But then Papa
noticed a glow up ahead."
Every year on the first of December I light an evening candle in memory of loved ones who are no longer with us! It is a reminder of the many wonderful memories shared when we were together. Candles and their light give hope and strength, it seems.
Jeron Ashford's thoughtful tale of winter celebrations begins at Thanksgiving when Nana Clover does not have a candle to light her table. She can't imagine celebrating without one. So, she asks the superintendent of her apartment block if he can help. All he has is 'a lumpy stick of wax'. Nana uses her ingenuity and some reminders of fall to create a centerpiece that pleases her and welcomes her dinner guests.
Two weeks later, the family in 2G realizes they have no havdalah candle. Avi is sent to ask Nana Clover for help. She gladly passes on her Thanksgiving candle. It is not braided and has only one wick; nevertheless, it shines brighter than any other havdalah candle before it. Four mornings later, one of the candles on the Saint Lucia crown snaps in two and causes great distress for Liv, who is to wear the crown and carry the breakfast to be shared. The Danzigers are happy to help, just as Nana Clover had been.
And so it goes ... The candle is passed from family to family bringing joy to the celebrations taking place throughout the apartment building. Bringing bright light to each of those celebrations, it is passed finally to the newest neighbors who are awaiting Papa's arrival with their furniture. A storm and lack of electricity have them worrying that Papa may not be able to find them. Fear not, the candle will light his way!
Each family of neighbors soon make their way to the fifth floor, bringing everything needed for a shared celebration of welcome.
"And the gnarled candle glowed so brightly in the window that when the electricity finally did come back on, no one even noticed."
The richly textured illustrations are highlighted by the glow of the small candle and the love within each family. An author’s note shares information about the celebrations themselves.
Lovely ... perfect for sharing at this time of year!