Title: Lucia and the Light
Author: Phyllis Root
Illustrator: Mary GrandPré
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Word Count: 1716
Summary: When the sun disappears, Lucia sets out to find it before the whole world freezes. (Based on a Norse legend.)
I am going to look at the element of Word Play in this story. And with good reason. The language in this book is as beautiful as the illustrations (and that’s saying a lot – the pictures are gorgeous).
The first line of the book is: “Lucia and her mother and baby brother lived with a velvet-brown cow and a milk-white cat in a little house at the foot of a mountain in the Far North.” Already we have two beautiful metaphorical descriptions: the “velvet-brown cow” and the “milk-white cat.”
When the sun disappears, “dark roosted on the land.” This time Root uses anthropomorphism (or would it be zoomorphism? The Latin geek in me is unclear, and Google failed me) to compare the way darkness settled on the land, to that of a bird settling in its nest.
Root’s beautiful descriptions continue as she describes the snowy landscape and the effect on Lucia. “Lucia’s fingers were sticks of ice.” (metaphor) The snow “was almost as soft as her feather bed.” (simile) And my personal favorite simile in the whole book: “Icicles hung from the trees like frozen tears.”
Root also uses onomatopoeia as she depicts the “shoosh, shoosh” of Lucia’s skis on the snow, the “splunk” of Lucia falling in the snow, and the “scritch, scritch,” of Lucia striking her tinderbox.
When Lucia returns from her journey after (spoiler alert) rescuing the sun, the sunlight is “as warm and sweet as honey.” And Lucia’s mother calls Lucia her “sunshine.”
I am so enamored with the language and the illustrations in this book, I just can’t recommend it enough. It is so beautiful.