FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater


Age Range: 5 - 10


Twenty-six poems with varied structures offer quiet observations of the natural world.

Vanderwater’s studies are spare and sometimes personal. Loosely cast as a series of forest visits at different times of the year, they focus both on the large, as in the opening “Invitation,” and the small—fiddleheads, lichens, a cardinal, a squirrel. The poet’s imagination invites readers and listeners inside her subjects’ heads. A chickadee considers taking food from a child’s hand; an owlet worries about its first flight. She listens to the voices of snowflakes and maples. Some poems describe the forest visitor’s actions: In one haiku, she plays with a rotting branch; in another, she marvels at the taste of wintergreen. Two children enjoy the surprise of a mushroom puffball. Listeners will appreciate language play like the tree frog’s: “Hoping. / Hopping. / High above. / Crooning. / Plopping. / Finding love.” The imagery is fresh and original; it’s accessible, too. Watercolor images of each poem’s subject add to the appeal. Some are vignettes, others show a child or a family enjoying the out-of-doors. Although the same young girl appears in these pictures, her clothing and apparent age vary, implying a series of encounters over many years.

Readers, too, may want to return to these explorations over and over. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 26th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-618-84349-7
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2013


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