I purchased this book after reading reviews here at Amazon and then previewing the book at our local library. I was looking for a picture book for my 6 year old that explains the Winter Solstice as well as the human traditions with which it is associated. This book fits the bill better than anything else I found, and the delightful illustrations are a nice bonus.
It may come as a surprise to many people that a book about Winter holidays does not mention Christmas or Hannukah. However, this book reaches back farther in time to festivals and celebrations based on natural phenomena that occur in the Winter (shorter days, plants losing leaves). These very early celebrations gave rise to many of the customs that we still follow (bringing evergreens into the home, giving gifts, lighting candles). I love the anthropological perspective (I'm trained in this field), and was thrilled to find the suggested activities at the end of the book for children to make simple scientific observations and hold a secular celebration of the Solstice.
This book would make a wonderful classroom resource as well as a read-aloud picture book to read as a family. It may be a bit too easy a read for children at a 2nd grade reading level or higher, but I enjoy the simplicity even as an adult. I also find the secular perspective refreshing. I understand that many Christians believe the only winter holiday of importance is the celebration of Christ's birth, but this book shows how it is possible to celebrate Winter for it's own sake and to recognize why so many festivals are held in winter.