ON A WINTRY MORNING

VIKING * ILLUSTRATED BY STEPHEN T JOHNSON * ISBN 0-670-89245-9

Book flap copy: When a father and baby bundle up for an early morning outing, there is much to see and do - from spotting rabbit tracks, to making snow angels, to harnessing the horse for a sleigh ride into town.  Luminous illustrations extend the lilting verse in this graceful celebration of wintertime that's sure to warm the hearts of young and old whenever cold winds blow.

Behind the scenes: When my Viking editor told me they'd approached artist Stephen T. Johnson to do the illustrations for this book, I was delighted, having admired Stephen's books Alphabet City and City by Numbers. Stephen used himself and his daughter, Sophie, as models for the illustrations in On A Wintry Morning.  Sophie's round, sweet face looked very much like the face of my youngest daughter, and the red snowsuit the toddler wears in the illustrations is almost exactly like one my other daughter wore.  How weird is that? 

Publishers Weekly - Starred Review 
Reminiscent of Mother Goose rhymes, newcomer Chaconas's musical verse sequence nostalgically harks back to a quieter time while preserving its appeal to contemporary children. A father bundles up his toddler daughter: "Daddy, tie her hat on tight./ Tie that baby's hat on tight./ The wind will blow with all its might./ On a wintry morning." Describing the progression of the morning's events, the text skimps on dynamic tension but compensates with a cornucopia of child-pleasing images: the father and daughter hitch up the horse and ride in their sleigh, look for animal tracks ("Daddy, find a bunny track./ Quick-foot, light-foot bunny track") and buy a "tawny, brindled pup,/ One ear down and one ear up." Like the verses, Johnson's paintings possess a timeless tranquility. Despite the huge snowflakes, the illustrations are full of warmth and comfort. A close-up of the father's hands as he cradles the baby's "tiny tender toes," the baby asleep on his chest as he sings a "cozy, dozy tune"  Each scene suggests the joy and love shared by parent and child. As nourishing as hearty winter soup. Ages 1-4. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

School Library Journal - Starred Review 
PreSchool-A lilting, rhyming text, by turns exuberant and soothing, celebrates the small moments that a father and toddler share. They trek out into the cold, sled down a hill, walk out across a meadow, and enjoy a sleigh ride to the "market in the square." Finally back home, they warm up, snuggle, and the youngster takes a nap. Each well-constructed four-line verse is centered on a white background, opposite a framed, watercolor-and-pastel illustration. The first three lines rhyme and the last echoes the phrase, "On a wintry morning." The artwork adeptly reinforces the action. The colors sweep back off the figures as their sled speeds downward. The tender moment as the exhausted child dozes off in her father's arms is done in darker, warmer tones to focus on the pair. Perfect for both lap-time sharing and storytime, this book is a joyous collaboration.
Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Booklist
Ages 2-5. In a lilting, poetic narrative, Chaconas takes readers on a tour of a winter landscape with a father and his baby daughter. Chronicled in three-line rhymes and a refrain, "On a wintry morning," events describe a father and child as they swoop down a hill on a sled, follow a bunny track, make snow angels, and observe a formation of geese. They head out in a sleigh to buy a beagle puppy, then it's home again to warm toes and noses before naptime. The old-fashioned feel of the story and the personalities of the father and daughter are vividly captured in Johnson's cheerful, sumptuous, light-filled illustrations, which are supercharged with the affection the parent and child feel for one another. Dads will love this book for its picture of father-daughter relationships as well as for the idea of a beckoning nap. 
Shelley Townsend-Hudson
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

 Sadly, On A Wintry Morning is now out of print.  However, used copies are available at Amazon.com
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2006 Dori Chaconas