A picture-book poem calling for adventure that’s—thankfully—for the birds.
When poet Frost and photographer Lieder last teamed up (Step Gently Out, 2012), their lyric gaze focused on the insect world, magnifying the beauty of wee, crawly creatures to wide critical acclaim. Their latest endeavor, again but one poem set amid riveting close-ups, takes to the air, capturing many common species of North American birds—mostly in flight—and reprising Frost’s theme encouraging children to step outside and explore the natural world. From the urgent dependency captured on the front endpapers in the form of baby robins, beaks gaping wide, to the independence of adult birds midflight, arrested in such detail that an attentive child can count the feathers of a downy woodpecker’s wing or study the masked face of a male cardinal, Lieder’s breathtaking photography carries the book’s message of growth. Frost’s poem encourages youngsters to leave the nest, “trusting” the sky to “hold you / as you learn to fly.” It not only quietly promotes thoughtful risk-taking, but neatly and unwittingly encapsulates the ambitious creative project she and Lieder have embarked on: “Alone in the sky, // or flying with friends, / your wings will carry you far, // stitching earth to sky with invisible thread, // at home wherever you are.”
All-around gorgeous; Frost and Lieder again showcase the splendor of nature through the happy marriage of literal and figurative images. (Picture book/poetry. 2-8)