This book perfectly captures the spirit of the solstice, and will surely be a part of my yearly Yule rituals for years to come. It is poetic and light-filled with joyous illustrations that evoke the quiet, universal hope that accompanies the darkest day of the year. Recommended By Ariel K., Powells.com
In The Shortest Day, a poem written by Susan Cooper, beautiful illustrations by local artist Carson Ellis accompany a simple but inspiring and timely message. Celebrating the rhythms of time, tradition, hope, and celebration, this book is a lovely reminder that even in the darkest times, all is not lost. Recommended By Leah C., Powells.com
With Carson Ellis’s beautiful, moody art accompanying Susan Cooper’s brief, gorgeous yuletide poem, The Shortest Day is a different kind of holiday book, one that seems to embrace all times and all peoples, paying homage to the joys of ritual, celebration, and togetherness. Recommended By Gigi L., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In this seasonal treasure, Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper's beloved poem heralds the winter solstice, illuminated by Caldecott Honoree Carson Ellis's strikingly resonant illustrations.
So the shortest day came,
and the year died . . .
As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again. Written for a theatrical production that has become a ritual in itself, Susan Cooper's poem "The Shortest Day" captures the magic behind the returning of the light, the yearning for traditions that connect us with generations that have gone before — and the hope for peace that we carry into the future.
Richly illustrated by Carson Ellis with a universality that spans the centuries, this beautiful book evokes the joy and community found in the ongoing mystery of life when we celebrate light, thankfulness, and festivity at a time of rebirth. Welcome Yule!
"A riot of quirkiness and eccentricity, and the mood of the book, which shifts from droll humor to melancholy to gentle vulnerability, is unclassifiable — and just right." Kirkus
"Ellis' beautiful gouache paintings depict a world that is pushing against the dark with candles and dance and song....The tale is one of hope, anticipation, love, joy and spiritual happiness, culminating with Yule." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"[T]his cyclical volume offers an alluringly haunting alternative to more familiar seasonal fare — one that is sure to serve as "lights of hope" on a dark season's stage." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Susan Cooper wrote "The Shortest Day" for John Langstaff's Christmas Revels, where it is performed annually across the country. She is the author of the classic fantasy sequence The Dark Is Rising, which includes the Newbery Medal winner The Grey King, as well as many other books for children and adults. She lives on a salt-marsh island in Marshfield, Massachusetts.
Carson Ellis is the creator of the Caldecott Honor Book Du Iz Tak? and the New York Times bestseller Home. She is also the illustrator of The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket and Dillweed's Revenge: A Deadly Dose of Magic by Florence Parry Heide, and she collaborated with her husband, Colin Meloy, on the best-selling Wildwood series. Carson Ellis lives outside Portland, Oregon.