Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

ARCTIC WHITE by Danna Smith

Arctic white book

“When you live in the Arctic in winter, everything is a shade of white.”

One night, the young girl’s grandfather smiles and hums.  She thinks he is keeping a secret.  She follows him as he walks out across the cold tundra.  Others of the community follow too.  All the while, she sees the whites of the tundra.  They finally reach a place where grandfather stops.  The beauty of the Northern Lights dances across the sky before them where they enjoy the glorious colors, their movements, together.

She had hoped for color in her world.  She got so much that she wanted to hold onto this wild array of color.  She painted, paper after paper.  She recalled the beautiful colors as she recorded them with paint.  Then she filled the walls of the igloo with the colors of the Northern Lights.

Where everything is a shade of white, “…inside, there is hope.”  Thus a sweet ending to this little book.

Because the book shows this community living in igloos, one may wonder if there are any peoples living in them today.  If we, as adults, ask a question about igloos, surely, children will.  Because a people or a location on the tundra is not mentioned, confusion may arise.  So a bit a preparation about igloo-living, the Tundra, and the Northern Lights would be recommended before reading the book aloud to a class or even to one child.  Lessons can be gleaned from this book with some outside research.

Thoughtful words combined with illustrations of watercolor and ink on Arches cold-pressed paper, digitally enhanced, make this a book to read in the winter when much of our own surroundings may be white.  

Reading Level: 4 – 8 years


Danna Smith grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Her father trained, bred, and rehabilitated animals.  She was around all types of animals, growing to love animals and nature.  She also loved words, writing poems and stories that “sparked emotion.”  This combination of animals, nature, and writing has led to some wonderful children’s books by Mrs. Smith.

Danna “lives in Northern California with her husband, two grown children, and their cocker spaniel, Peanut. She enjoys spending time outdoors and painting with watercolors but most of the time, you can find her at her computer playing with words.”  You can find her wonderful website @  Her Twitter handle is @dannasmith8


Lee White has illustrated ten children’s books, other things as well.  He currently lives in Portland, Oregon.  He graduated from the Art Center College of Design in 2003 (with honors) and has been working as an illustrator ever since.  He is writing two new books as well as working in visual development for animation and games.  He can be found @

Book Information

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (January 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1627791043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1627791045
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches




Will be linking up with a number of the “LinkUp” sites on the right/side column.

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

LENNY & LUCY by Philip Stead



Another fine book by the Steads…Peter, the author, and Erin, the illustrator.  This pair takes an avenue of childhood and turns it into such a fine story for children and adults alike.  They can make a special story out of some of the harder lessons children sometimes have to learn.  This is one of those.

Peter and his father (not stated, but assumed by the pictures) are moving to a new home far into the woods, a seemingly lonely and rather dark place to live.  But moving, they are.  Peter has his dog, Harold.  Peter finds that, upon arrival, the place has some fearful characteristics.  Harold is not enough, though, to keep the fears at bay for Peter so he sets to work making an overstuffed “Lenny” to guard the bridge leading to and from the woods.  Peter finds pillows and cloth and clothing and sews them altogether to create “Lenny.”  He watches Lenny guarding the bridge and wonders if Lenny is lonely out there at night.  So he creates “Lucy” to be Lenny’s companion.  So the two of these creations guard the bridge. They are also friends to Peter in the daytime.

Peter is not completely alone in these woods though as Millie turns up at his doorstep one day.  She lives just next door.  Millie meets Lenny and Lucy and Harold.  These woods turn out to be far less scary after all.

The story is told in the pictures with a few perfectly formed sentences, so much so that the reader’s imagination is enticed and enthralled and drawn right into the world of Peter, Harold, Lenny, and Lucy.  And, by all means, DO NOT FORGET TO READ THE BACK COVER.  There is one sentence back there to complete this wonderful story.

Erin Stead’s illustrations are simply wonderful.  Black, white and grays sweep each page.  Minimal color touches a page right where we are to focus in order to pick up on some special characteristic or a place where the story is being told without words.  Erin uses carbon transfer printing, egg tempura, and charcoal for these illustrations.

I love this book.  I love their books!  What more can I say!

Reading Level:  3 – 7 Years


PHILIP C. STEAD “is the author of the Caldecott Medal winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee, also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010 and a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2010, illustrated by his wife, Erin E. Stead (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, 2010).  Philip, also an artist, both wrote and illustrated his debut Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast (Roaring Brook Press, 2009), which was applauded by School Library Journal for “its wry humor and illustrations worthy of a Roald Dahl creation.”  Philip lives with Erin in Ann Arbor, Michigan.”  You can find lots more directly from Philip @


Erin Stead “is the Caldecott Medal winning illustrator of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010 and a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2010 (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, 2010). She and her husband, author and artist Philip Stead, with whom she co-created A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Bear Has a Story to Tell, live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bear Has a Story to Tell was named a Best Children’s Book of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews. Erin also illustrated And Then It’s Spring written by Julie Fogliano and named a 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and a Best Children’s Book of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly.”  Her website has much more to share:

Book Information

ISBN-13: 9781596439320
Publisher:  Roaring Brook Press
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Pages: 40
Product dimensions: 9.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)