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by Jen Bryant & illustrated by David A. Johnson

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8028-5242-4
Publisher: Eerdmans

A Brooklyn lad finds common ground with an oddly dressed lady in this fictional but not unlikely zoo encounter. Jonathan loves to watch the animals, and so does the woman in the black cape and tri-cornered hat; standing side by side in the reptile house, they introduce themselves: “My name is Miss Moore, but you can call me Marianne.” And later: “No, I’m not a scientist—I’m a poet.” Unsure just what a “poet” does, Jonathan accompanies her around the zoo as she explains how she puts down thoughts and observations in her notebook, tries to fit them together like puzzle pieces, and, with luck and patience, sometimes makes them into a poem. Shifting point of view from within the cages and out, Johnson supplies accurately drawn, very softly tinted animal and human figures, capturing both Jonathan’s curiosity and the Moore’s quirky, dignified grandeur. In the end, she leaves him with both a blank notebook and the assurance of future meetings—a double promise that young readers and writers may be moved to take her up on. Though a sample of poetry would have made a better sendoff than Bryant’s biographical afterword, this does provide a tantalizing glimpse into one writer’s creative process. (Picture book. 7-9)