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Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights Hardcover – May 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-9-This book is based on a purely delightful concept-recording the changes in Arctic light from one summer solstice to the next. In Fairbanks, AK, Miller begins with the 21 hours and 49 minutes of daylight on June 21, then follows the light's diminution month by month to the winter solstice and its daylight of 3 hours and 43 minutes to its gradual swelling back to the summer solstice. Her brief text includes not only lyrical messages about light and its partner, darkness, but also references to the reaction of wildlife to the waxing and waning: the migration of birds and caribou, the hibernation of bears, the changing coat of the Arctic hare. Wrapped about this unfamiliar (to many of us) swirl of seasons of light are Van Zyle's superb and quietly beautiful acrylic paintings, which capture both light and dark in perfect harmony with the text. A map of Alaska, an introductory note, and an excellent glossary are included. Team this bit of loveliness and imagination with Ellen Jackson's delightful quartet Summer Solstice (2001), Autumn Equinox (2000), Winter Solstice (1994), and Spring Solstice (2002, all Millbrook); encourage children to get out a calendar, pen, paper, thermometer, and clock and jubilantly record the radiant pattern of light in their own little corners of the world. A winner.
Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Miller, a resident of Fairbanks, Alaska, explains the peculiarities of light and seasons near the Arctic Circle and briefly introduces some of the animals that live in the area. Text at the top of each page carries a date ("June 21," "July 21," and so on through a year); the hours of daylight; the time of sunrise and sunset; and the average temperatures. Below, a double-page painting shows a scene in the natural world, typically accompanied by one short paragraph commenting on what is happening and another discussing the length of day and night as well as natural phenomena, such as "sun dogs." The realistic paintings often focus on animals within a landscape. The book concludes with an unusually good glossary that describes phenomena and terms such as alpenglow, flat light, and vernal equinox. Useful for the classroom. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802788564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802788566
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 0.4 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,701,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Debbie S. Miller grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. She loved climbing trees, watching animals, and hiking in wild places such as Yosemite National Park. The natural world inspired her to write at a young age. After obtaining her teaching degree, Debbie moved to Alaska with her husband, Dennis. The call of the wild beckoned them from the freeways of California.

For the past 35 years, Debbie has loved exploring the wilds of Alaska and studying its great diversity of wildlife. Alaska has been the foundation and inspiration for all of her writing. Her first wilderness adventure book, Midnight Wilderness (Sierra Club Books, 1990) describes the wonders and natural history of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge based on 14 years of explorations. Many of her nature books for children, such as Survival at 40 Below (Walker, 2010) have been recognized as Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children by the National Science Teachers Association and Children's Book Council (NSTA/CBC).

Debbie enjoys speaking in schools across Alaska and America, sharing her books and programs with teachers and students of all ages. She also likes traveling to other wild regions of the world, such as Australia, where she recently studied some fascinating marsupials, reptiles, and birds.

Alaska will always be a home that Debbie cherishes along with her two grown, beautiful daughters who still enjoy hiking, fishing and camping with her.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Campbell on February 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book as an adult simply for pleasure. I think it goes beyond being appealing only to children; because it captures with an intense sense of wonder this faraway place in the world, it speaks to people of any age who still feel a thrill when they view a beautiful sunset.

The collaboration of author and illustrator is almost musical - Debbie S. Miller is a natural lyrical writer, and Jon Van Zyle meets her with very moving acrylic paintings on the same level. And that level is artistry at its best. In fact, I am so impressed that I put several more collaborations of the two on my wish list for future enjoyment.

The enjoyment of this particular book is being introduced to a faraway place that, for me at least, one knows little about. It is like opening a door to a treasure trove: here is the snowshoe hare whose coat is brown in summer, white in winter; here is the cow moose that I had never even heard of; bears, ground squirrels, wolves, trumpeter swans are just a few of the Artic inhabitants.

One learns of the most extraordinary weather, formation of clouds and what "blinks" are, the awesome changing light, what "sun dogs" are, and what is exactly meant by the term "Midnight Sun." And, of course, the northern lights which I have always longed to see.

Enchanting is the best word I can think of to sum up this book. Ms. Miller has a natural gift for choosing the right words. And the illustrations are perfect.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Book in hand at all times on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ordered this book after travelling to Alaska to see the Northern Lights and I have to say I was very pleased with the art and the storyline.
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