Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Shortest Day: A Little Book of the Winter Solstice Review

Long-time reader Vixxia Wyrdwritere has sent me a few parcels over the past year packed with some wonderful goodies and thoughtful gifts.  Recently, she sent me a tiny book called The Shortest Day by Karen Cater and asked if I'd review it.  I'm always happy to oblige a review, especially when the item is particularly review-worthy!  Let's dive in!

The Shortest Day is a small book written and illustrated by author Karen Cater.  When I received the book, I was surprised at just how small it was - barely the length of my hand.  It truly is a little book.

But don't let its size fool you; big things come in small packages!  This book is chocked full of information about the upcoming holiday. A total of 63 pages, Cater makes the most of her limited space to provide a comprehensive look at the meaning of the solstice.

The book begins with a scientific view of Midwinter, explaining the name, the appearance of the sun's stance int he sky and how this cycles every year.  Cater then dives into the history of the solstice in Britain by visiting a number of neolithic sacred sites.  From the well-known Stonehenge to the village of Avebury, the author pinpoints the role of the solstice at these locations.  She continues on to the role of the Mistletoe plant in Yule and rounds the book out with historic customs and how they've evolved over the years.  It's surprising just how much information Cater was able to pack into 63 pages.  Even I learned something new!

While The Shortest Day overflows with information, you can't mention this book without also talking about Cater's fabulous artwork.  Bold, colorful prints grace the pages of this tiny book, highlighting new sections and chapters with a peek into the sites and historical lore.

Overall, I found The Shortest Day a fascinating read, perfect for the budding Pagan looking for some scientific and historical insight into one of the eight common holidays of the year.  The tiny book surprised me with just how much information is stored between its mere 60 pages.  Combined with vivid illustrations, this book would make a lovely addition to a Yuletide stocking or gift box this upcoming holiday!

It is also Familiar Approved!


  1. Being Familiar Approved is a guarantee for a good read! Love Your Article.
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  2. Thank you so much for doing this review - I sent the link to Karen and she was so surprised and happy. She also posted the link to the review on the Hedingham Fair Facebook page, so you may get some more readers in return. :)

  3. Thank you for this review! I had heard about the book, but wasn't sure about buying it. It was great to see the contents of the book on your photos. It made me decide to buy it. Going to get a couple as Yule gifts for people and a copy for myself.