Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights

Mindy Dwyer, Author Alaska Northwest Books $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-88240-494-3
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.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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