Story last updated at 2:50 p.m. Thursday, December 19, 2002

Winter embraced in new children's book
by Carey James
Staff Writer

photo: entertainment

Colorful paintings like the cover art for "Winter Is" appear on each of the book's 32 pages.  
There's little doubt that growing up in Alaska is a tad different than childhood in the rest of the world, and a recently released children's book, "Winter Is," playfully exploits this fact.

Written by Ann Dixon and illustrated by Mindy Dwyer, "Winter Is" delves into the uniquely Alaska excitement for winter, a sentiment children have likely felt this year in particular after such a long wait for snow.

In Dixon's world, winter is anticipated, along with other seasons, as children, pictured in brightly colored watercolors, prepare for skating, playing in the snow and sledding.

"Winter is black, spilling night into day. We watch northern lights start to flicker and sway. They swirl like bright, crazy dancers," Dixon writes in an easy-to-read stanza form.

Further enhancing the Alaska aura are pages devoted to hibernating bears and moose hanging back in the bushes.

"Winter Is"

  • Published by: Alaska Northwest Books

  • Written by: Ann Dixon

  • Illustrations by: Mindy Dwyer

  • Price: Hardcover, $15.95; Softcover, $8.95

  • Length: 32 Pages

  • More info: www.anndixon .com/winteris.html

  • "Winter is bright, stepping softly we prowl. We're watching and listening for moose, fox and owl. Moonbeams shimmer around us," Dixon writes, accompanied by an image of a family dancing on a snow-covered field in the moonlight while animals watch from a distance.

    Toward the end of the book, winter begins to thaw, the sun returns, and the children laugh as they posthole through the snow.

    "Winter is long. Thawing snow drip drip drips. We step off the path and sink up to our hips. Laughing, we empty our boots," Dixon writes.

    The snow melts, the trees bud, and the children begin looking forward to the next season, summer.

    Dixon, who lives in Willow, has written several children's books, including "Blueberry Shoe," "Sleeping Lady," and "Alone Across the Arctic," all of which have won awards.

    In addition to writing books, dixon presents programs for students using visuals, storytelling, lectures, and hands-on activities to educate about traditional and modern folk tales and stories.

    Dwyer lives in New York, but her award-winning illustrations have graced Alaska titles such as "Baked Alaska," and "Alaska Almanac," "Quilt of Dreams," and "Aurora, Coyote In Love."

    In addition to illustrating books, Dwyer's artwork has appeared in juried shows across the country. A member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, she has made donations of her artwork to raise funds in community auctions and works with schools on art projects and writing exercises.

    The book is recommended for children ages 3 to 6.

    Carey James can be reached at