Flash and Gleam: Light in Our World

(Author) (Illustrator)
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Product Details

$19.99  $18.59
Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publish Date
9.8 X 9.9 X 0.6 inches | 0.88 pounds

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About the Author

Sue Fliess is the award-winning, bestselling author of more than fifty children's books including Cicada Symphony, The Earth Gives More, and the Kid Scientist series. Her books have been named to notable lists and translated into multiple languages. Sue lives in Northern Virginia.

Khoa Le is the illustrator of a number of acclaimed books for children, and her paintings have been honored and exhibited across Asia. She lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


"This lovely picture book introduces young readers to the many manifestations of light in our daily lives. The action revolves around four culturally diverse children and their parents, following them through daily activities (first waking up, then spending time outdoors gardening or bike riding) and special events (Diwali, Hanukkah, Yi Peng, the Fourth of July). The text is limited to five or six simple rhyming words arranged in three lines that effectively capture the action on each two page spread, whether celebrating a birthday ('Glimmer / Glow / Wish and blow') or watching a sunset ('Fade / Away / Cannot stay . . .'). The mixed-media illustrations are rendered in soft pastels that glow when depicting candlelight or a bonfire and change to vivid yellows and oranges for glowing suns and soaring lanterns. The illustrations fill the pages, with some showing one scene and others comparing two or even four simultaneous experiences. Back matter includes some basic science, brief explanations of traditional celebrations, and a few fun facts. This has multiple STEAM applications, from poetry and creative writing to introductions to energy and light to how the sun affects human life, and doubles as a great read-aloud or a starry bedtime story ('Gleam / Bright / Say good night')."--starred, Booklist

-- "Journal" (3/15/2020 12:00:00 AM)

"This colorful, informational picture book looks at the many sources of light in the world around us. Short, dynamic stanzas have a riddle-like quality: 'Glimmer/Glow/Wish and blow'; 'Color/Bend/Find the end'; 'Blink/Play/Show the way.' Le's richly atmospheric, mixed-media illustrations depict the forms of light in colorful, slice-of-life vignettes that follow four children. The children's experiences are subtly interconnected, and some double-page spreads feature four panels that show everyone waking up in a stream of sunshine, gazing upon the same sunset, and watching a fireworks display. Each family also celebrates a festival of light, including Diwali, Yi Peng, Hanukkah, and Christmas. Back matter includes a scientific exploration of light, as well as brief descriptions of the cultural holidays mentioned.
VERDICT An illuminating choice for STEAM storytimes."--School Library Journal

-- "Journal" (2/15/2020 12:00:00 AM)

"Over the course of a day, an inclusive array of children move with their families through activities and celebrations that incorporate light. In brief rhyming lines, Fliess describes a bright rainbow ('Color/ Bend/ Find the end') and the sun's effect on a garden ('Reach/ Low/ Nurture, grow'). Le's textural, richly colored mixed media renderings of light show families lighting candles for Diwali, Hanukkah, and a memorial; chasing fireflies; and dancing around a campfire. Together, the artwork and simple language make for a read best suited for a group younger than the stated range. Back matter includes scientific facts about light (rainbows, the Northern Lights, and moonlight) and brief information about the depicted holidays."--Publishers Weekly

-- "Journal" (1/13/2020 12:00:00 AM)

"Light appears in many forms, especially in celebrations. Rays of sunlight sparkle on a garden. The northern lights swirl across an evening sky. From the morning sun to the nighttime moon, light shines all around. This book follows four children from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The children never all meet, but several spreads include them all via interlocking backgrounds, highlighting their shared experiences. For instance, each child views Fourth of July fireworks with two parents or caregivers. (These pairs each present male and female.) Then each family observes its own winter celebration of lights: Yi Peng with a Thai family; Diwali with an Indian family; Hanukkah with a white family; Christmas with a black family. Concise stanzas of five or six syllables evoke the wonder, movement, or purpose of different light sources: 'Shimmer / Glance / Blaze and dance' describes a beach bonfire. Backmatter covers the science of light, including composition, and some manifestations like lightning as well as holiday descriptions. The illustrations, rich with color and patterns, are their own celebration of light, particularly in their warm, golden glows. Similar light sources carry different meanings; a birthday candle's flame gives off fairy-dust-like sparks for a wish while a collection of memorial candles burn strong and steady for healing. The book successfully depicts both scientific and cultural experiences in impressive variety and connections. A ray of light, both illuminating and beautiful."--Kirkus Reviews

-- "Journal" (11/19/2019 12:00:00 AM)