Sometime in early March, the cry of “Sap’s Rising” can be heard in rural New England. In this lovely picture book, a father, his two sons, and one dog rise (very early) to the occasion and set off at dawn to the sugar bush to begin the process. Rossiter paints the action so that it is both personal and factual; we see the entire family involved – Mom preparing the meals, Dad steering the big John Deere tractor through the fields, and the two sons, Seth and Ethan, learning how to steer, collecting the buckets, and replacing them on the spouts and, of course, the loyal hound Chloe (probably the only dog so named on any farm in New England) trotting along for the ride. Everyone participates in the hard work – hauling the buckets full of sap to the holding tank – and also in the fun work – reducing forty gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup in a big evaporator in the steamy sugarhouse. And, of course, testing and tasting the syrup. Continually.
Lovingly illustrated and infused with the lucid light of early Spring, this book is a real charmer: a testimony to the spirit and traditions of New England and a reminder of the very real values found only on family farms.