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list price: $18.95
edition:Hardcover
published: Sep 2010
ISBN:9781897476413
publisher: Simply Read Books

Singing Away the Dark

by Caroline Woodward, illustrated by Julie Morstad

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country life
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $18.95
edition:Hardcover
published: Sep 2010
ISBN:9781897476413
publisher: Simply Read Books
Description

On a dark winter's morning a little girl has to trudge a mile to catch the school bus. Will she be able to sing her way through the shadows? Lilting rhyming text by Caroline Woodward and stunning paintings by Julie Morstad herald an era when singing away the dark was part of a six-year-old's rural school-going routine.

"This quietly stunning tale empowers all young children -- whether they get to school by snowshoe or SUV -- to overcome fear with imagination" (Q & Q Starred Review)

"Night can be a very alien world, but this beckoning book is like an invitation to come walk there" (Kirkus)

"The lovely combination of language and illustration makes this story an ideal and heartening read" (CM Magazine, Highly Recommended)

About the Authors

Caroline Woodward is the author of Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper (Harbour Publishing, 2015), Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny (Oolichan, 2010), Disturbing the Peace (Polestar, 1990), and two children's books. She lives on the Lennard Island Lightstation with her husband, Jeff George.

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Award-winning artist Julie Morstad has illustrated a number of picture books, including Think Again. She lives in Vancouver.
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Contributor Notes

Caroline Woodward grew up on a Cecil Lake homestead in BC's Peace River region where all the children are brave and tough and where she really did walk a mile to her school bus stop, uphill both ways.

Julie Morstad is the award-winning illustrator of When You Were Small and its two sequels, Where You Came From and When I Was Small. She is currently working on two new projects she is both writing and illustrating.

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Reader Reviews

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Singing Away the Dark

In this story, the six-year-old protagonist likes school very much. She is, however, very afraid of walking the mile-long route through the wintry countryside in order to meet her school bus. Each weekday morning she leaves the warmth and security of home, only to enter the mysterious pre-dawn darkness of the rural landscape. It is only when this little soul begins to sing out loud that the darkness seems to evaporate. The act of singing gives her courage as she presses on through snowy fields and forests. “I sing for sun, I sing for strength, | I sing for warm toes, too. / I am so happy when I see / two headlights blaze in view.” Victory is in sight! All is well as she climbs aboard the school bus, ready to begin a new school day.

Caroline Woodward has written a compelling account in verse form about a courageous child attempting to overcome her fears the only way she knows how — through singing. The opening verse sets a bucolic scene: “When I was six and went to school, / I walked a long, long way... / I leave my house so nice and warm, / on a windy winter’s day.” However, Woodward gradually builds suspense as this girl passes by shadows and hears “...creaks and groans, and hoots and howls.” The countryside has been transformed into a sinister and foreboding environment. One feels great relief when she is enveloped into the safety of the school bus.

Julie Morstad’s striking ink, gouache and pencil artwork is captivating in its simplicity. The heroine is a picture of sweetness and innocence in her winterwear as she battles both the weather and her fear of the dark. The furtive shadows, the crisp whiteness of the snow, the hidden forest wildlife, and the gradual lightening of the teal sky as time moves forward are beautifully illustrated. We feel as if we are silent witnesses to wilderness secrets.

As an insightful exploration into inner bravery, Singing Away the Dark will resonate with readers of all ages.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2011. Volume 34 No. 2.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Singing Away the Dark

Written in rhyming verse, this whimsically illustrated story tells the tale of a little girl who has to trudge a mile through the snow to catch the school bus. Will she be able to sing her way through the shadows on this dark winter morning? A finalist for the 2011 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

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