Sugar on snow

Nan Parson Rossiter

Book - 2002

Two young brothers help their Dad in another season of sugaring off, the process by which maple syrup is made. The process of collecting maple tree sap in buckets, to boiling it down into syrup is described here as it follows this family's day of creating this sweet treat. The book ends with a typical New England tradition of pouring fresh, hot syrup over snow and a reward for the hard work.

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Picture books
New York : Dutton Children's Books c2002.
1st ed
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
Main Author
Nan Parson Rossiter (-)
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In Rossiter's (Rugby & Rosie) cordial if somewhat stilted tale, two brothers and their parents spend a March day gathering sap from maple trees on their farm. As the children anticipate the mission, their mother assures them that there will be "lots to help with-including the tasting." At times, the narrative resembles a television script from a bygone era: "The boys grinned at each other, and Mom laughed. `Go wash up for dinner. If you're going to help with anything, you need to keep up your strength.' " Children are more likely to respond to concrete details such as Dad's comments to the boys, "Sap is mostly water, you know. Syrup is what's left after most of the water boils off. Forty gallons of sap make only one gallon of maple syrup!" The idyllic paintings, which show the spring sunlight on snowy New England vistas may well enthrall readers, but they add few details to the sugaring process. Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's recent From Dawn Till Dusk, illus. by Mary Azarian (Children's Forecasts, Sept. 2), offers a clearer overview of how sap becomes syrup. Most engaging here are Rossiter's light-filled paintings chronicling the day's work, which convey the boys' earnestness and eagerness to help. Ages 5-9. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-An overview of a special spring harvest in the Vermont woods. Seth and Ethan help their parents collect sap and make maple syrup. Seth is particularly excited about his chance to drive the small tractor that pulls the collecting tank to the sugar bush. From rising at dawn to eating fresh maple syrup drizzled on snow late in the evening, the boys pitch in with the tasks required to turn maple sap into a golden treat. The afterword summarizes a Native American legend about maple syrup and briefly describes current technology that simplifies sap collection. The illustrations of wildlife and the woods are clear and engaging. Each text block is accompanied by a close-up of a bird or animal, often enlarged from the scene on the facing page. However, the people have a static, somewhat idealized quality, as though posing for tableaux in an outdoor clothing catalog. Less nostalgic than Marsha Wilson Chall's Sugarbush Spring (Lothrop, 2000) and Jessie Haas's Sugaring (Greenwillow, 1996), Rossiter's book demonstrates how a family can contribute to a process that generates its own sweet rewards.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

Seth and his brother, Ethan, are overjoyed to finally be old enough to help with the sugaring on their small Vermont family farm. This colorfully illustrated tale documents the many strenuous yet rewarding steps in the sugaring-off process. While some of the dialogue seems artificial, the story provides an accurate introduction to this New England tradition. From HORN BOOK Fall 2003, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Rossiter's (The Way Home, 1999, etc.) story of a family's day in the sugar bush is a bit too solemn for the occasion, and there is a static quality to the artwork that drains much of the life out of the elemental act of sugaring. Seth and Ethan eagerly announce that it looks like sap-gathering weather to their mother one March evening, though the boys' gestures in the accompanying illustration look like they have been carved from stone. As the boys try to crank up the excitement, their mother keeps saying things like "We'll see" and "Whoa! Food first," tamping any electricity that might begin to flow. The narrative crawls at the same speed as the tractor making its way through the maple trees: "Mom poured the contents into the holding tank. Dad was next, emptying his bucket from the other side of the trailer." So it goes, all the day long, to end upon this upbeat note: "She had a thermos of coffee tucked under her arm, since she and Dad would be up most of the night tending the syrup." Pass the oxygen. Fun is an alien concept to this event, where the boys are dutiful day laborers, their payoff a snow cone and their parents' approval. They ought to organize and demand a minimum wage. (Picture book. 5-8)

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.