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Aurora
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This fanciful exploration of the origins of Aurora Borealis, the northern lights, is a scrumptious delight. Dipping her watercolor brush into an array of cream-puff colors, Dwyer dreams up Aurora, a girl of the northern lands who lives where the sun never sets and yearns to follow the caribou to that "mysterious midnight place" where the sky turns "the color of ripe blueberries." One day she stocks up for the journey with all the colors of daylight‘dawn's "delicate pink," noon's "shining silver blue," twilight's "luminous green"‘colors she eventually flings into the darkness to light her way. Repeated patterns form a kind of folklore print, made from bold images silhouetted against the pastel skies as well as tiny stars, polka dots and spirals that meld and merge into the tundra's floral carpet, the fabric for Aurora's dress, the outline of wind and the night sky. These recurring themes create a strongly unified visual impression. The prose occasionally falters‘a wise grandmother figure intones such platitudes as, "Inside each one of us, there is a glow that lights the way," and a false note rings when Aurora mentions the discovery of "her courage and her own inner light"‘but in the end these flaws are overwhelmed by the loveliness of Dwyer's poetic imagery and artistry. Ages 3-up. (Oct.)

K-Gr 2‘This picture book is satisfying in many way. It offers a fanciful explanation for the origin of the aurora borealis and whimsical, colorful illustrations. "In a long ago northern land" of perpetual sunshine, Aurora goes in search of a place of darkness described to her by her grandmother. The girl follows a lone caribou there but as she travels, she pockets the colors of the sunshine from the pink glow of early dawn to the midday light of silver blue to the luminous green of twilight. When she reaches the total darkness, she flings the saved lights into the sky, thus enabling her family to follow the dancing curtain of color and find her. The illustrations are lovely, and the story line, while predictable, is effective. Aurora's ethnicity is not clearly defined, although she is clad in a wildly wonderful kuspuk, or summer parka, which resembles Alaskan Inupiat dress. The arrangement of the text and artwork varies and is a bit jarring at times due to inconsistencies in placement. Occasionally, the text is printed over an illustration making it difficult to read. Overall, a worthy addition to most collections.‘Mollie Bynum, formerly at Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, AK

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