A year’s worth of nature poems and illustrations for all ages in a massive collaboration between two Brits.
Measuring approximately 10 by 11 inches high and over 1 inch thick, Waters’ collected 366 lyric selections hail from more than 90 poets recognized as pillars of the Western canon—Shakespeare, Dickinson, Wordsworth, Blake, Cummings—as well as a handful of poets from other cultures as well as modern children’s stalwarts. While the age-old celebration of seasons and passage of time must be among the most common ways nature anthologies are organized, what sets this collection apart is how the differing perspectives work together. Waters makes sure, whether nature’s many creatures or states of being happen to be personified or objectified, that the unifying themes of environmental conservation and respect for creatures great and small (“Hurt no living thing,” advises Christina Rossetti) come clearly across. This isn’t to say the volume doesn’t offer numerous examples of light verse, such as Tony Mitton’s salute to a plum—“Don’t feel beaten. / You were made / to be eaten”—or selections from fun masters Ogden Nash and JonArno Lawson. Alongside these playful stanzas are hundreds of reflective poems, showcasing natural wonders often with mere syllables, as in “White Sound” by Julie O’Callaghan: “When rain / whispers / it is snow.”
Paired throughout with Preston-Gannon’s evocative, vibrantly textured digital illustrations, Waters’ superbly curated poems offer something for everyone: majestic and inspiring as nature itself. (Poetry. 5-adult)