Kirkus Reviews QR Code
FIREFLIES AT MIDNIGHT by Marilyn Singer Kirkus Star


by Marilyn Singer & illustrated by Ken Robbins

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-82492-0
Publisher: Atheneum

Devoted fans of Turtle in July (1989) will savor each minute spent with this companion collection of chronologically organized poems from the prolific and versatile poet. This time, Singer spreads her evocative poems throughout a single day, from a robin “first to greet the light” and a cavorting otter out for a morning swim to ants in the afternoon, a camouflaged rabbit at dusk, the eponymous fireflies flashing at midnight, and on through the night to a mole digging in for sleep as a new dawn approaches. Singer once again captures the intrinsic character of each animal’s nature or movement through innovative poetic devices: swooping rhymes describing the playful otter, a rollicking rhythm for a poem about a horse, and a strong two-beat meter for a monarch butterfly that reflects the beating pattern of its wings. She divides the 14 poems evenly between rhyming and non-rhyming works, and all of them employ unusual rhyme schemes or structures. The innovative poetry is well complemented with unusual photographic illustrations that sometimes look like photographic collages and other times like watercolors or oil paintings. The volume’s thoughtful design includes firefly-spangled endpapers and a subtle reminder at the top of each poem delineating the time of day. The midnight blue cover with glowing fireflies hints at the magical nature of what lies inside: luminous poems that will stand the test of time. (Poetry. 5-10)