PPBF: Elsa and the Night

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Author/Illustrator: Jöns Mellgren (Translation from Swedish by Anita Shenoi)
Publisher: Little Gestalten, 2014
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: sleep, night, loss
Opening: Elsa is sitting by the kitchen table, sorting through her granola. “Number seventy-eight,” she mumbles, picking out another raisin. All the lamps are burning. It’s warm in the room.
Summary: (from my library catalog) One day, Elsa hears a creature moving underneath her sofa. When she lures it out, she discovers that it’s the Night. ‘You’re not allowed to be here,’ she says, and puts it in an old cake tin. Fourteen hours later, it’s still day outside.

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I like this book because: Publisher’s Weekly calls it an eccentric story and I have to agree. It might not appeal to everyone, but I beg readers to give it a chance beyond the beautifully composed spreads. I have read a number of reviews and see it hits readers differently. For me this is a story of loss, grief, denial and letting go, told in a tall tale. I hope you all find something special in it for yourselves.

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Resources/activities: a great resource for the art class, this book makes wonderful use of contrasting and harmonious colors, and perfect for teaching composition – students could cut out similarly colored shapes and create their own compositions for study; I believe this is a beautiful resource for discussion on loss, grief, and letting go.

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For more PPBF picks packed with resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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