THE SUN IN ME

POEMS ABOUT THE PLANET

A wide-ranging poetry collection covers sea, sun, sky, and earth illuminated by stunning illustrations. Nicholls has ranged far in her choice of poets, too, choosing John Updike and Charlotte Zolotow along with Issa and Buson. There’s a traditional Albanian riddle and a handful of translations. Most of the poems are quite short and none are longer than a page. Readers will find Emily Dickinson on snow and “The Juggler of Day”; there is Rabindranath Tagore in an excerpt from “Stray Birds.” Sappho’s “Evening Star! You bring back / All that the bright dawn scattered” faces a Pasamaquoddy Indian song: “We are the stars which sing. / We sing with our light.” The illustrations are gorgeous—Krommes (The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish, 2001, etc.) sketches her images on scratchboard, photocopies the result, then fills in the copies with watercolor. The result is a brilliant use of pattern and placement in space along with color that leaps from the page. The pictures are full of the flora and fauna of the natural world, but almost every scene also has a person, so readers and listeners can see their place in the sun. An unnecessary introduction is a bit overlong—these poems speak for themselves and their message is clear: we are indeed of the earth. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-84148-058-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2003

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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UNDER THE SNOW

A snow-covered countryside may look barren of life, but Stewart’s quiet text takes readers under the blanket of white to “a hidden world” where ladybugs sleep en masse and voles tunnel from tree to tree, where a wood frog freezes safely solid and bluegills and waterboatmen share frigid waters, where a turtle lies buried in mud and “even on the coldest winter days, red-spotted newts dodge and dart, whiz and whirl just below the ice.” Bergum’s equally quiet watercolors spread across the pages in panels that offer cross-sections and magnified details to give readers glimpses of the world beneath the snow. Their precision lends a dignity and beauty even to a sleeping centipede and a barbeled carp. Readers will come away with an appreciation for the adaptability and endurance of the animal world. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-56145-493-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2009

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