Then someone on high, or perhaps sitting close by, or perhaps leaving a stealth kiss on a precious forehead before creeping from the room, begins to speak ... about the beautiful picture they will paint on the landscape for this beloved child.
The entire narrative of Once Upon a Northern Night is like a prose lullaby for the child, meandering in a lyrical way across snowy landscapes, star-strewn skies, footprints across white powder, animals nuzzling fruit from trees.
The book's monochromatic illustrations are beyond divine, and provide a soft canvas for the text, with luscious texture, stunning line-work and superlative use of negative space to effect light.
The text, for me, is over-written at times, however there are some beautiful and poignant moments that will make storytime magical for many ages.
Once Upon a Northern Night will appeal to adults as much as children, if not more so. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Title: Once Upon a Northern Night
Author: Jean Pendziwol
Illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 October 2015
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book