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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 08/2020
  • 978-09980365-6-4
  • 56 pages
  • $12.95
Ebook Details
  • 08/2020
  • 978-09980365-5-7
  • 56 pages
  • $3.99
Audio Details
  • 08/2020
  • 32 pages
  • $3.99
The Longest, Darkest Night!
On the rarest of all nights – a total eclipse of the moon occurs on Winter Solstice. Mrs. Owl, Madam Opossum, Young Weasel, Mr. Raccoon and Brother Fox are scared. The wise old storyteller, Grampa Cedar, who has seen it all, guides his nocturnal neighbors through a night they’ll never forget. The Longest, Darkest Night! is an illustrated children’s story about the wonders of nature, celestial cycles and the “humanness” of animals. Fear of the dark and the unknown, collaboration, generosity and the wisdom of elders are underlying themes in this modern fable. The story is an inclusive and action-packed reading experience, with rich images and sing-along interactivity that offer even more personal engagement. Extensive back matter includes scientific notes, thumbnail backgrounds for each character, a book list and coloring pages. The delightful illustrations include recognizable representations of animals, trees and events on Earth and in the sky.
Reviews
A group of nocturnal forest creatures learn about lunar eclipses in this educational picture book. In a frozen woodland on the winter solstice, the forest’s animals and trees join in on a night of storytelling. The eldest in the forest, Grandpa Cedar, is excited to share a story, but all the animals—Ms. Owl, Young Weasel, Madam Opossum, Mr. Raccoon, and Brother Fox—are too scared to listen, as they see the moon slowly disappearing. Even the maple tree shivers with fear. After several tries, Grandpa Cedar is finally able to get through to the other animals. The wise old tree explains the total lunar eclipse, bringing comfort to the entire forest.

LePere’s radiant illustrations of the animals, trees, and colorful changes of the moon seamlessly complement Lewis’s words. Attentive readers will enjoy tracking the visual progression of the eclipse across each page, while Lewis’s explanation of the phenomenon is clear and easy to understand. The longer words might intimidate early readers, so this book is best read aloud or shared with older school-aged children.

The reactions of owl, fox, weasel, raccoon, and opossum show a delightful range of how people can react to the unknown—hesitation, calm, panic, fear, and denial—and might provide a helpful guide for children who need help navigating new things and places. The core message encourages readers to tune in and listen to nature. Grandpa Cedar’s knowledge and wisdom also highlight the importance of listening to the sage advice of elders, especially when a strange or confusing event is happening. As a bonus, the book includes peer-reviewed back matter that can help the reader learn more about the moon, celestial events, and nocturnal animals. Parents and teachers seeking supplements to STEM curricula or gifts for young naturalists will appreciate Lewis and LePere’s engaging, colorful narrative.

Takeaway: Young readers with an interest in the natural world will enjoy learning about a rare celestial event.

Great for fans of Ellen Jackson’s The Winter Solstice, Katy Hudson’s A Loud Winter’s Nap, Wendy Pfeffer’s The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 08/2020
  • 978-09980365-6-4
  • 56 pages
  • $12.95
Ebook Details
  • 08/2020
  • 978-09980365-5-7
  • 56 pages
  • $3.99
Audio Details
  • 08/2020
  • 32 pages
  • $3.99

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