Loni Edwards

Illustration and Paintings in Digital, Watercolors and Ink

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Lucia and the Light

It’s Friday! Time for another review for Perfect Picture Books!  I was planning another classic, but I picked this one up at the library the other day and knew it had to be added to our list:

Title:  Lucia and the Light  Suitable For: Ages 5 and up Author/Illustrator:  Written by Phyllis Root Illustrated by Mary Grandpré  Publisher:  Candlewick Press (October 10, 2006) Themes/Topics: Animals, Geographic Theme, Perseverance, Fantasy/Folklore/Fairy Tales, Adventure

Opening and Brief Synopsis:

Lucia and her mother and baby brother lived with a velvet-brown cow and a milk-white cat in a little house at the foot of a mountain in the Far North.  The cow gave milk, the cat slept by the fire, and the baby cooed and grew fat by the hearth.  They were happy together, even when the winter piled snow outside their door.

So begins this beautiful, fantastical tale about a little girl’s marvelous adventure to find the sun that has disappeared from her world.  Her drive and determination to save the life of her baby brother help fuel her to keep going when her body was wanting her to stop. Her quick thinking and cleverness aid her when the battle seems too great after trolls capture her.

Links to resources – I thought for this story it would be fun for children to learn more about the Norse, considering it is influenced by Norse folklore.  I found an excellent site on the BBC that gives a history of the Vikings.  I also found this site that links to a number of Viking related material, including the BBC site I previously mentioned.  The name Lucia is very well known in Scandinavia.  On Dec. 13, according to the old Julian calendar, St. Lucia’s (St. Lucy’s) Day is celebrated. Cross-country skiing would also be a great activity to do after reading the book   (and then a warm cup of hot chocolate afterwards!).

Why I liked this book:  As I said in the beginning of this post, once I read Lucia and the Light I knew it had to be on our list.  It is just magical.  Phyllis Root’s storytelling is fantastical.  It is a wonderful tale of courage and perseverance.  Mary Grandpré’s gorgeous soft pastels create a wonderful world that you feel a part of. Grandpré’s art may be familiar, as she is the artist who created the Harry Potter book covers.  In this modern world, well crafted fantasy stories for children are a rare treat.  Root & Grandpré did a wonderful job of bringing this story to life.

The complete list of Perfect Picture Books and their resources can be found at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.


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  1. Susanna Leonard Hill 06/01/2012

    This wounds wonderful, Loni! I am a big Phyllis Root fan to start with, the illustrations look delightful, and the opening sentence just pulls you right in. The activities you’ve suggested sound really fun and educational. Thanks so much for sharing this one!

    • Loni Edwards 06/01/2012

      Thanks Susanna! Yes, the illustrations are fantastic! It’s a little longer read, hence the age 5 and up I think. Little ones might get a little restless. And the trolls are a bit menacing. But hey, my kid loved stuff like that even little so who knows? 🙂

  2. theartofpuro 06/01/2012

    Thanks for the comment:)The book”Lucia and the Light”looks interesting and the style is beautiful:)Thanks for sharing:)

  3. Erik -This Kid Reviews Books 06/01/2012

    Cool! I haven’t heard of this before. I love the Roman, Greek, and Norwegian mythologies! 🙂 I wonder where I can by this book…

    • Loni Edwards 06/01/2012

      Hi Erik,
      You can click the picture of the book above to purchase at Amazon. Otherwise, I am sure that other bookstores and libraries will carry it also. It is from Candlewick, so I bet it is pretty easy to get ordered in. Thanks for your comment, I bet you will love this book!

  4. Joanna Marple 06/01/2012

    Loni this sounds epic and enchanting and I so want to see the illustrations, now. I have worked internationally for many years and have often celebrated Santa Lucia with Scandinavian friends!

    • Loni Edwards 06/01/2012

      Hi Joanna,
      Thanks so much for your comment. That is wonderful that this book will remind of you of such great memories. You will love it.

  5. Beth Stilborn 06/01/2012

    Lyrical opening! Lovely. This sounds like a great way to explore another culture. It also sounds as though the reader would feel Lucia’s emotions clearly through her journey, which would make it even better, in my opinion.

    Thanks, Loni!

    • Loni Edwards 06/01/2012

      Oh yes, between the writing and the drawings, you really do get a feel for her emotions. In one spot, she lies down in the snow because she is tired. It was very emotional for me as a reader. Not many picture books grab me like that. And yes, it is a great lead to exploring more things about Scandinavian culture.

  6. Jennifer Young 06/01/2012

    Oh what an interesting storyline. I can’t wait to read this one to my kids! Thanks for sharing Loni!

  7. Katy Manck 06/01/2012

    Loni, I need to borrow a grandchild and go read this book to/with them!

    I love the way that you provide some links to further information and an activity that relates to the story.

    (I arrived here via MotherReader & LeeWind’s comment challenge and plan to stick around!)

    **Katy M
    Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
    Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

    • Loni Edwards 06/01/2012

      Hi Katy M!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate your comment! I will also add your blog to my feed and follow you on twitter. Great to meet new friends!

  8. Natalie 06/01/2012

    Wow! This sounds like a fantastic story that my boys would love. I will have to add it to our weekly, library list.

  9. patientdreamer 06/01/2012

    Great book, I love anything that reflects another culture. This reminded me of when we visited there some years ago. It was mid summer and only about half hour of darkness…lol. Amazing. Love the illustrations. Thanks Loni!

    • Loni Edwards 06/01/2012

      You’re welcome! Yeah I remember the darkness in Alaska too. But in the summer, it’s awesome to have it be midnight and still light out 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  10. Renee LaTulippe 06/01/2012

    That sounds so beautiful! Will have to get my hands on that one — thanks for sharing!

  11. Patricia Tilton 06/01/2012

    Love your selection Loni! It’s so important for kids to understand other cultures and some of the hardships. I know so little about the Norse, that I’m going to have to read this one. Thanks for sharing. Definitely belongs on the PPB list.

  12. Loni Edwards 06/01/2012

    I agree Pat! As an Anthropology major, I am all about cultures 🙂 Any book I find that introduces a child about another culture I gravitate too. Thanks for your comments!

  13. Kelly Korenek 06/01/2012

    We have this book in our library collection-I have been meaning to read it-the cover is so appealing. It really does sound like a magical read, and I like your ideas for activities. Could lead to a cool research project!

    • Loni Edwards 06/01/2012

      Hi Kelly, isn’t that cover fantastic? That is what drew me to the book also. Each page is magical, in the storytelling and the illustrations. You will love it.

  14. Beth 06/01/2012

    I’m still reading picture books with my ten year old, right before we start reading our own chapter books, and this looks like something he would enjoy. We like Norse themed stories.

  15. Jennifer Rumberger 06/01/2012

    This sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Zoe 07/01/2012

    A new-to-me book, this sounds enchanting.

  17. Stacy S. Jensen 07/01/2012

    I enjoy magical. Such a growing list of books to check out, especially after this week. I think I see the Harry Potter-look on the cover you shared. I’ll have to study the illustrations too.

    • Loni Edwards 07/01/2012

      Yes, I recognized it when I picked it up at the library. Her soft pastels are striking and memorable.

  18. Storied Cities 07/01/2012

    We read this book every year on St. Lucia Day when we also make the traditional saffron buns. It’s a lovely book.

  19. Anne Duguid 08/01/2012

    What a lovely site this is. Inspirational. Found it through the blogger comment challenge but shall surely be back.

    • Loni Edwards 08/01/2012

      Hi Anne,
      Thank you so much for visiting my site and for the nice comments! It’s so nice to meet you. 🙂

  20. Scott Spinks 08/01/2012

    Ah, yes. Lucia and the Light lives on my bookshelf in my studio simply because of the way the illustrator handled the lighting. It’s a great book.

    • Loni Edwards 08/01/2012

      Hi Scott,
      I agree, she is a master at light. Each page is a fantastic piece of art. Thanks for the comment!

  21. Magdalena Ball 08/01/2012

    I really like your review format – it’s super helpful. Your review was insightful and well written and really makes me what to check out Lucia and the Light, which I’ve never read.

    • Loni Edwards 08/01/2012

      Thank you Magdalena. I can not take credit for the format, that would be the creation of author Susanna Leonard Hill who hosts the Perfect Picture Book Fridays blog. But I agree, the formatting is spot on. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did 🙂 Happy reading and thanks for stopping by my blog.

  22. Darshana Khiani 09/01/2012

    Never heard of this book or author, will have to check it out. I do like Mary’s work in the Harry Potter series

    • Loni Edwards 11/01/2012

      I hadn’t either Darshana. But I plan to check out more of her books as I come across them. I really liked her writing.

  23. Barb 09/01/2012

    It sounds lovely! Thanks.

    Grade ONEderful

  24. Rachel Mary Bean 10/01/2012

    This looks great, thanks! I’m always on the look out for fun picture books. 🙂

  25. Loni Edwards 11/01/2012

    Hi Rachel,
    You will like this one. It is fun 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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