In Out of a Dark Winter’s Night, illustrator and author Flora McDonnell tells the story of a young child whose spirit of adventure is dampened when the day ends and gives way to night. Taking their wheelbarrow, they set out on a mission to stop the sun from setting again, joined along the way by a charming collection of animal friends. But when darkness falls again and worst comes to worst, it is hope that eventually carries them home, where they sees the dawn breaking again.
A response to calls for books that help children and families understand mental health issues, Out of a Dark Winter’s Night is a gentle expression of McDonnell’s firsthand experience with anxiety and depression that is empathetic and poetic, allowing room for multiple interpretations and responses.
McDonnell has said of the book, “This is my autobiography. A journey since childhood to harness the sun and stop the darkness of the night, which has to be abandoned. With a helping hand, I have learnt to turn around and see the sun rise…The book is intended to give courage to any child or adult who feels they are stuck in the darkness of a winter’s night.”
McDonnell's minimalist text, with sentences stretched over several pages…develop[s] an atmospheric tale with layered meanings… Vast but simply designed landscapes dominate the wide pages with thick brush strokes and sweeping colors… Delicately crafted, impressionistic hope.
— Kirkus Reviews
Flora McDonnell is an artist and picture book maker. She is the creator of Flora McDonnell’s ABC, I Love Animals, I Love Boats, Splash!, and Giddy-up! Let’s Ride!, among many other books.