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On the Shortest Day

On the Shortest Day

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Author Laura Sulentich Fredrickson, Illustrator Laurie Caple

Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 29, 2020)

Wander through wintry woods and along frozen creeks to observe eagles soaring, deer munching, and muskrats hiding as the winter solstice arrives in a whirl of snowy confetti and dancing starlight.


In late December, snow blankets the landscape and the daylight hours are brief. Bundled up against the cold, a child and an adult explore the slough, a marshy area along the river where many animals live, hunt, and play. The scene is quiet, yet alive with activity—if you know where to look.

The child seeks to solve a mystery:

I search for you
as the sunlight fades
in the silent slough
on the shortest day.

Readers also tiptoe, scramble, and whisper. What will we discover along the way?

As child and grandparent hike through the woods and along streams, they encounter deer and eagles. They find mounds and lodges, homes for muskrats and beavers. They are watched by cottontail rabbits, red foxes, and snowy owls. These animals and many more survive and even thrive during winter’s deepest chill.

Poetic storytelling evokes the crisp air, the sparkling snow, and the seasonal calm, while vibrant illustrations teem with wild creatures and dazzle with the bright hues of sunset on snowy landscapes.

At last, the solstice arrives. The shortest day becomes the longest night, promising the joys of more winter activities and, before too long, the wonders of spring.

Author information

Educator and writer Laura Sulentich Fredrickson has lived on a slough in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

Children’s book illustrator and natural history artist Laurie Caple has created artwork for more than twenty books including Hungry Coyote by Cheryl Blackford.

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  • 32 pages
  • fully illustrated, glossary, ages 3-7
  • 10 x 10 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681341699

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