cover image The Blizzard's Robe

The Blizzard's Robe

Robert Clarke Sabuda. Atheneum Books, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31988-4

Sabuda adds yet another credit to the remarkable repertoire of media exhibited in his picture books, including the crisp paper engineering of The Christmas Alphabet and the intricate, simulated stained-glass illustrations of Arthur and the Sword. Appropriately and inventively using batik art for this tale of a robemaker, he employs a variegated palette that spans the deep blues and purples of the frozen North to the sizzling oranges and yellows of a blazing fire. Sabuda sets his folkloric tale ""far to the north by the Great Arctic Sea,"" where the People Who Fear the Winter Night are so named for their dread of Blizzard, a godlike figure who appears during the perpetual darkness of deep winter with destructive icy winds and snow. The writing is as sure and elegant as the artwork: ""If the sun did rise above the horizon, it was only for a brief time, like a great whale rising to the surface of the sea for a quick breath."" Teune, a young robemaker, makes amends to Blizzard after inadvertently destroying his gorgeous frozen robe: she painstakingly stitches for him her most beautiful robe. In return, the deity gives Teune's people the Aurora Borealis which earns them a new name: ""the People of the Northern Lights."" Given Sabuda's deft manipulation of color, these lights are brilliant indeed. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)