North Woods Girl
Author Aimée Bissonette, Illustrations by Claudia McGehee
Minnesota Historical Society Press (October 1, 2015)
Whether hearing wood frogs peep, choosing the finest skipping stone, observing squirrels gathering nuts, or inhaling crisp, cold air, a hike through Grandma’s woods engages all the senses.
“When Grandma tucks her pants into her oversized boots and grabs her walking stick, I run to catch up,” reports a young girl charmed by her visits to Grandma’s north woods home. Their walks take them through the seasons, to a pond with a downed tree just right for sitting, to a garden lush with tomatoes ready for canning, through a snowy nighttime woods where the only sounds are the squeak of boots on snow and the hooting of a distant owl. Whatever the month, there are plenty of woodland critters to observe: squirrels or rabbits or deer, geese or goldeneyes or mergansers. The forest of North Woods Girl is an active, populated place, brought to life by Claudia McGehee’s colorful scratchboard artistry.
Time with Grandma teaches about quiet observation, generous sharing of resources, the beauty of the forest and pond at any hour. Grandma is the quintessential north woods girl, breathing deep the piney scents, relishing the chirping activity of her animal neighbors. Small wonder that her admiring granddaughter is inspired to follow in her footsteps. With a tale as understated as Grandma herself, Aimée Bissonette shares a message of appreciating the treasures of our natural surroundings.
Aimée Bissonette is a writer, teacher, and lawyer living in the Twin Cities. This is her first children’s book.
Writer-illustrator Claudia McGehee lives in Iowa City. Her previous works include A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet and A Woodland Counting Book.
Reviews and news
"Over the course of this lovely book, a young girl pays seasonal visits to her grandma, a feisty, sweet and unconventional North Woods dweller. Thanks to Aimée Bissonette’s engaging narrative and Claudia McGehee’s dense, gorgeous scratchboard renderings of the natural world, we’re immersed in their wanderings and explorations in a way completely captivating. Another fine effort from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, where they’ve mastered the art of putting authors and illustrators together with great success."
"One of the prettiest and well-written books of the season is narrated by a girl who admires her grandmother for not looking like other grandmas: 'She's bony. And she dresses in Grandpa's old flannel shirts.' But Grandma knows the woods behind her house and where to observe animals and ducks."
"Bissonette's debut picture book is narrated by a young girl who enjoys the north woods as much as her grandmother does. . . . The scratchboard and watercolor artwork enhances the beauty of this heartwarming story about the love this little girl has for nature and her grandmother. The scenes are cozy because of how the starry skies, the wildlife, and the abundance of trees surround the main characters on every page. VERDICT This is a powerful intergenerational story about how a grandmother came to be a role model for her granddaughter."
School Library Journal *Starred Review
"A celebration of both family and nature with exemplary illustrations."
"It’s a book that celebrates life’s simple, quiet pleasures—from canning summer vegetables to savoring the smell of pine—as well as the importance of sharing them with like-minded souls of any age."
- 32 pages
- Fully Illustrated
- 10 x 10 inches
- ISBN: 9780873519663