Poems in varied forms urge readers to marvel at animals living in surprising environments.
The prolific poet (Fireflies at Midnight, 2003) again celebrates the natural world, here describing 14 creatures surviving in unlikely places. From Humboldt penguins on arid South American coasts to foxes in cities, Singer points out the contrast between our expectations and their lives. Worms in ice, flies in oil, swimming songbirds and fish in the air…her choices range widely. Though the focus is their odd surroundings, she weaves in information about some of their interesting adaptations as well. Her poetry features judicious use of rhyme and alliteration. Some is free verse; others are written in traditional forms, described in an author’s note in the back. They’re set directly on double-page illustrations, collages of painted and textured papers, cut and torn, which, though reminiscent of Eric Carle and Steve Jenkins, have Young’s irregular lines, distinctive brushwork and soft colors. This is a book for enjoyment rather than information. An additional paragraph about each creature appears in the endnotes, but these don’t always answer the basic question of where it might be found. The author acknowledges some expert help but provides no source or index.
A felicitous pairing of two children’s literature pros to encourage our sense of wonder. (Picture book/poetry. 5-12)