North Woods Girl

Aimée Bissonette, illus. by Claudia McGehee. Minnesota Historical Society, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-87351-966-3
A girl sings the praises of her grandmother in Bissonette’s children’s book debut, illustrated by McGehee (My Wilderness: An Alaskan Adventure) in sturdy scratchboard images that underscore the ruggedness of both Grandma and the landscape she loves. Throughout the seasons, the girl and her grandmother, who describes herself as “not a good-looking woman” and wears her late husband’s flannel shirts, enjoy what the woods have to offer. In the spring, that means studying migrating birds (a circular close-up of ducks in a pond lets readers feel like they are peering through binoculars alongside these two “north woods girls”). And in winter, the season they like “best of all,” they take a midnight stroll across a snow-covered field. Tinted with dyes and watercolors, McGehee’s illustrations have the static grace of stained glass, and girl and grandmother take on an almost saintly appearance as they gaze up at a winter moon. It’s a book that celebrates life’s simple, quiet pleasures—from canning summer vegetables to savoring the smell of pine—as well as the importance of sharing them with like-minded souls of any age. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/20/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
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