cover image Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here

Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here

Jean Craighead George. HarperCollins, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021139-4

On the shortest day of the year, a grandmother writes to her granddaughter that winter has arrived, ``brought by little hands of darkness.'' With the delivery of a startling fact, ``On June 21, while you were cooling off under the hose, winter began,'' Newbery Medalist George's ( Julie of the Wolves ) poetic text slips into an account of the natural and human events that mark winter's deliberate approach (``I turn on my lights. You put on your mittens. . . The squirrels insulate their homes''). The letter ends with the heartening realization that the tide of light turns and, on this darkest of days, summer actually begins. Rendered in soft opaque watercolors and pencils, Krupinski's subjects--a bathrobed grandmother writing at the kitchen table where her kitten laps milk from a saucer, a bear snuggling into his winter lair, sunflowers bowing with the weight of ripened seeds--induce a warm, somniferous affection for winter. An introductory note explains solstices and equinoxes in language appropriate to readers at the upper end of the targeted range. A lovely presentation of a concept worthy of early learning--the rhythm and influence of light on earth. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)