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School Library Journal

According to the author’s note, this story was originally written and illustrated in 1906 in Germany by Sibylle von Olfers. Wood’s retelling of it is both economic and graceful. The tale itself is a gentle but joyous romp through the seasons. After Grandfather Winter returns to his palace of ice, Mother Earth wakes up her Root children, helps them dress in blossom clothing, and sends them up into the world.

They frolic first with kind Aunt Spring and then with jolly Cousin Summer. The arrival of studious Uncle Fall signals a quieter time, and at last Mother Earth calls them back to their underground home and sings them a lullaby, while Grandfather Winter listens outside. The story itself is so evocative that it could be told without benefit of illustration, but in this case the pictures are so beautifully rendered that the words are almost superfluous. Bittinger’s oil-on-linen paintings are nothing short of gorgeous. They are rich in texture, vibrant of hue, and rendered with such care and elegance that one is reluctant to leave one page for the next. This is a truly lovely offering from a talented pair.

– Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

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