Originally written for a Christmas concert given by internationally-renowned children's choir Shallaway, Bernice Morgan's Seasons Before the War is a delightful, unsentimental remembrance of growing up in St. John's, Newfoundland just before the city, and the world, changed irrevocably with the advent of WWII.
This slightly fictionalized telling explores the delights of every day and of each season: how Bernice and her siblings played and passed their time—watching the fire trucks put out fires at the dump, going for messages at the local shops, listening to stories by the kitchen stove—and the bigger moments of starting school, and anticipating Christmas. Charged with the bright wonder of a child's view, the book nevertheless contains the shadow of change; although mentioned only in the book's title, war and its implications for childhood hang quietly over all.
Painted illustrations, by acclaimed UK-based illustrator Brita Granström, beautifully capture the sweet nostalgia of Morgan's words and the joys of childhood. Soft and playful, yet detailed and accurate, the illustrations add immeasurably to the book, making it as much an art book as a storybook.
With beautiful paper, thoughtful design, and exceptional production values, this is a book to be shared between generations, and to be treasured.