CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 5. . . .October 2, 2015
Painted Skies introduces readers to the northern lights through the eyes of a young girl, Leslie. Leslie has recently moved to the Arctic, and she is experiencing many things in her new home, including the amount of snow that falls there and the northern lights. Leslie’s new friend Oolipika teaches her about this natural phenomenon as they take in its beauty one evening.
Painted Skies begins as a narrative that teaches readers about the northern lights while Leslie and Oolipika observe its breathtaking beauty. As the girls discuss the phenomenon, readers will learn about what it looks like visually, including its colours and movements, and about some of the Arctic legends surrounding it. The book concludes with a factual epilogue that explains what the northern lights are composed of, how they are created, and where they can be best viewed. The blending of the narrative with the factual text will help readers gain a broad understanding of the northern lights.
With her stunning work, iIlustrator Amei Zhao perfectly captures the beauty of the northern lights. The colours, composed mainly of brilliant shades of blue, green, purple, and black, perfectly complement the sense of wonder and awe created in the written text and by the northern lights, themselves. Zhao’s use of shading and highlighting captures the sense of movement and shadow of the northern lights.
Painted Skies will give readers the total experience of the northern lights, both visually and factually. I can imagine that many readers will reach for this book again and again for both the lovely written narrative and the striking illustrations. Readers will leave this experience with a broader range of knowledge about one of the Arctic’s natural wonders, the northern lights.
Chasity Findlay is a high school English teacher in Winnipeg, MB, and a graduate student at the University of Manitoba.
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