Young People’s Poet Laureate Engle (Enchanted Air, 2016, etc.) brings readers the alternating poetic voices of a brother and sister navigating the complexity of their family dynamics and of “twenty-first-century attitudes / toward nature.”
Cuban-born, Miami-raised Edver, ne Verde, is sent by his cryptozoologist mother to Cuba to meet his father, not knowing that he has a sister just one year older waiting for him as well. Twelve-year-old Luza, nee Azul, is eager to meet her younger brother but soon feels the disparity in how they have grown up. Neither sibling understands the choices the adults in their lives have made—choices that have kept these two who could be twins, one with curly, one with straight hair, but both with “the same reddish-brown skin, black eyes, / fierce glares, and reversed names,” apart. Edver and Luza come together when they find themselves protecting the forest world they love. Readers may be unsatisfied with the unsurprising denouement, but the book arrives at a realistic open ending, and the poetic journey is one of rich juxtapositions between the real and the marvelous, technology and nature, science and art, past histories and possible futures.
An addition that delicately illustrates the Cuban-American experience through a poetic and scientific lens not often seen. (glossary of biodiversity words) (Verse fiction. 9-12)