Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Welcome Back, Sun by Michael Emberley

This is a perfectly enchanting book. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the little girl, yearning for sunlight, can find a responsive chord in any northern heart. We might have sun through the winter, but it is limited. And weak. As the sun strengthens through February, there is a surge of joy. 

Welcome back, sun! 

I found this book in a library sale last year. (I probably can stop saying that, since I find pretty much all my books at library book sales.)  It is about a small Norwegian village, deep in a valley that has no direct sunlight from September until March; they call these months, murketiden, the murky time. This story is about a village tradition, based on a centuries old tale of a little girl who misses the sun so much, she climbs the mountain to meet the sun and bring it back down to her village. Each year, the valley residents climb the mountain on a particular day to watch the sunrise, and then the sun follows them back to their village that afternoon. 

Seriously. This picture is marvelous! 

The deep, deep valley.

Poor little, sun starved girl. 

"After the last Christmas candle is put away, I start to feel the hunger--as if I hadn't eaten for months. Bu March I am really hungry for sunshine. 

The return of the sun celebration in Oslo, far south of the village. 

Sitting with her Daddy. 

Sleeping the night before their hike up Mount Gausta to meet the sun and bring it home.

The village is awash with lanterns and villagers going to meet the sun. 

No matter how hard the hike is, the hunger for the sun makes it worth their while. 

I can't even imagine the feeling of those first rays of sun hitting them after all those months. I love all the personal celebrations as almost the entire village sits together, but separate in their own celebrations--in their own thoughts of how much they wanted to feel the sun on their face. 

She falls asleep after her long hike and comes home on Daddy's shoulder. But when she wakes up from her nap, the sun is shining into the house! 

It has returned!

And with the return of the sun, comes the next sign of spring--the first blossoms on a tree. 

"The first tiny splash of colour on an old grey canvas."

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