Budding young naturalists will learn from—and love—Winter Is Coming by Tony Johnston. A quietly powerful picture book that explores the changing of the seasons and life in the woods, it’s also a story about the rewards that come from taking time to look closely at the world. The narrator is a resourceful young girl who visits her tree house each day, watching in solitude as the forest around her transitions from fall to winter. Armed with binoculars, sketchbook and pencils, she spies on animals as they hunt for food and prepare for the snowy season to come.
The book begins in September and moves through October and November, passing through all the phases of fall until the first sign of snow. The glories of autumn come alive on the page thanks to Jim LaMarche’s magnificent acrylic, colored pencil, and ink illustrations. Johnston’s understated yet poetic text is filled with arresting imagery. From her perch, the narrator sees a fox that “shines like a small red fire” and a lynx “the color of moon” with “Egypt eyes.” Her sense of wonder and reverence for nature will inspire explorers of all ages. Capturing the transitional quality that makes autumn such a magical time, Winter Is Coming pays tribute to the mysteries of nature while teaching readers about the importance—and pleasures—of simple observation.