WHY DO I SING? by Jennifer Blomgren


Animal Songs of the Pacific Northwest
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 7


A wolf’s howl. A loon’s haunting cry. What do they communicate?

Seeing a title like Why Do I Sing? Animal Songs of the Pacific Northwest, readers might expect to discover the possible meanings of various animal sounds. Instead, the author dreamily imagines. A cricket’s song, she posits, “is of summer and warmth everywhere.” Each of the 14 Northwest creatures’ vocalizations is described in a four-line stanza, including—oddly—the ever-silent starfish: “As the STARFISH are washed by the tide’s ebb and flow, / They just might be singing a song we can’t know. / We don’t see or hear the world the same way / As so many living things near us each day.” The poetry is often stumblingly cumbersome, as in the marmot stanza: “In wintertime MARMOTS sleep in dens under rock piles, / By summer, high peaks sound with their whistles, heard for miles.” In a cozy denouement, humans sing around a campfire, “for joy.” Gabriel’s handsome, atmospheric watercolor paintings on textured paper capture scenic panoramas or zoom in to render animals larger than life, from honeybee to meadowlark.

While this is a lovely visual tribute to Pacific Northwest animals, the stilted verse makes it a disappointing follow-up to the team’s award-winning Where Do I Sleep? A Pacific Northwest Lullaby (2008). (Picture book/poetry. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-57061-845-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Sasquatch
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2013


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