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CAVE by Diane Siebert


by Diane Siebert, illustrated by Wayne McLoughlin

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-16447-1
Publisher: HarperCollins

This dramatic poem is a majestic tribute to some of the natural forces that shape our world. Though some of the specialized words and concepts are difficult, it begs to be read aloud from beginning to end: “I am the cave, / So cool and dark, / Where time, unending, leaves its mark / As natural forces build and hone / A crystal world from weeping stone.” As with her other poem titles, such as Sierra (1991), Siebert combines striking images, accurate science, and a profound respect for the world we inhabit. The Liquitex acrylic paintings only occasionally rise to the magic of the text. At times they are too literal; for example, Siebert says: “I am the cave. / Long have I known / Dark silhouettes on lamp-lit stone”; the artist puts in three cave paintings and the lamp. Elsewhere, he uses colors too vivid for life—for example, the swallows appear electric blue with ruby throats, rather than the duller, steel blue and rust the Audubon guide indicates. More successful are pictures where the artist leaves more room for the imagination, the white spider in his iridescent web, or pale salamanders paddling in pale aqua waters. Despite shortcomings of the illustration, this is a book that inspires. (Poetry. 10-14)