From May through December, a northwoods family prepares for the long, cold winter that lies ahead by gathering supplies (and memories) that will tide them through the longest season--winter. In May, they begin thinking of all the preparations that will keep them busy throughout the next seven months. They plant "one" seed at a time, bake "two" rhubarb pies, collect "three" warm summer memories, and so on until they get to "ten" skis, "eleven" friends celebrating the end of the season of chores, and "twelve" inches of snow, which launch the beginning of skiing, skating, and snowman-building fun.
Although the premise of Gathering is a counting book, it's really more a celebration of a unique lifestyle that few of us know as intimately as author Betsy Bowen, who's spent more than 25 years on the north shore of Lake Superior with her family. The joy of this experience shines through in this charming book, illustrated with beautiful, bright, and rather intricate woodcuts. "All day long we ski on the fresh snow; we find our familiar trails and discover some new ones, too. Tonight we'll gather around the fire to thaw our feet and drink hot cider. We're settled in for winter now. Before long we'll count the days until spring."
From Publishers Weekly
In this nature-themed counting book, Bowen (Tracks in the Wild) shows how inhabitants of the Minnesota northwoods work through the spring, summer and fall to prepare for the typically harsh winter. Thoughts of freezing temperatures and snow begin as early as May, when gardeners plant tomatoes and beans for canning. Throughout the summer animals and people gather and store berries, and kids collect "warm memories" such as "floating along in the canoes under shooting stars." Bowen's familiarity with her subject matter manifests itself in both her welcoming text and her intricate colored-woodblock prints. Attractively designed, each spread introduces a number from one to 12 followed by a first-person anecdotal paragraph of information (e.g., "Two rhubarb pies. Each year the bright red rhubarb stalks, with their big curled leaves, come up by themselves") and is graced by one full-size woodblock print as well as spot illustrations. A predominantly cool palette of blues, purples and greens conveys the seasonal chill. Bowen also provides insight into the idiosyncracies of the region and of her characters (neighbors contruct a labyrinth of extension cords so that their truck battery will start, for instance), companionably underscoring the demands of the climate and her respect for the land. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.