Poetry Friday: Singing Away the Dark

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Winter nights are long, cold and dark in northern countries like Canada.  So often, getting up for school means trudging out into the pitch blackness which can be a little unsettling.  In Caroline Woodward’s Singing Away the Dark (illustrated by Julie Morstad, Simply Read Books, 2010), a six year old girl must set out from her family farmhouse and walk a long way to the highway bus stop.  She must go down a hill,  in between the barbed wires of a fence and through a stand of trees — all, of course, in the darkness.  A very scary prospect indeed, for one so young!  So what does the little girl do?  She sings, sings away the dark.

The girl’s journey is narrated in verse, in loose quatrains, with end rhymes every second and fourth line.   So the journey reads a bit like a song itself, accompanied also by some very fine illustration by artist Julie Morstad.  By the time the little girl meets the bus, she has overcome her fears and is “so happy when [she sees] two headlights blaze into view.”   For any child who must negotiate dark mornings as is so often the case in rural communities in northern Canada, Singing Away the Dark is certainly a good solution to the problem.

This week Poetry Friday is hosted by Laura at Writing the World for Kids.