HIDDEN CITY

POEMS OF URBAN WILDLIFE

Of especial appeal to small children already drawn to Earth’s tinier residents, this celebration of urban wildlife subtly...

A lyric glance at what city critters are up to.

Paired with Schimler-Safford’s breathtaking digital collages, Tuttle’s 28 free-verse poems and engaging endnotes center on representatives from the plant, animal, and insect kingdoms commonly found in North American urban and suburban settings yet often overlooked or taken for granted. Bats, elms, mice, snails, dandelions all figure large here as Tuttle explores how these beings make their homes in seemingly inhospitable environs. “Moss in sidewalk cracks / sends up delicate shoots / for shoes to / tread on / break off / carry away”; meanwhile, “on the side of a house / ladybugs / tuck under shingles” preparing “for their long winter sleep,” and “a mother mouse / … / carries / forgotten paper away / to build her nest.” Throughout the work, Schimler-Safford’s brightly shaded collages, often reproduced in double-page spreads, create a dazzling, multidimensional effect that deftly echoes the vast scenes Tuttle describes, such as red-winged blackbirds amid the cattails of a marsh or a “Sunflower Buffet,” where golden flowers towering atop sinewy vines yield nourishment to a menagerie of seemingly lesser creatures: “ant / fly / moth / bee / butterfly / sparrow / squirrel / me.”

Of especial appeal to small children already drawn to Earth’s tinier residents, this celebration of urban wildlife subtly informs as it delights. (additional facts, further reading) (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5459-9

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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THE STUFF OF STARS

Wow.

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  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

The stories of the births of the universe, the planet Earth, and a human child are told in this picture book.

Bauer begins with cosmic nothing: “In the dark / in the deep, deep dark / a speck floated / invisible as thought / weighty as God.” Her powerful words build the story of the creation of the universe, presenting the science in poetic free verse. First, the narrative tells of the creation of stars by the Big Bang, then the explosions of some of those stars, from which dust becomes the matter that coalesces into planets, then the creation of life on Earth: a “lucky planet…neither too far / nor too near…its yellow star…the Sun.” Holmes’ digitally assembled hand-marbled paper-collage illustrations perfectly pair with the text—in fact the words and illustrations become an inseparable whole, as together they both delineate and suggest—the former telling the story and the latter, with their swirling colors suggestive of vast cosmos, contributing the atmosphere. It’s a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle.

Wow. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7883-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

POETREE

A sweet and quiet homage to friendship, nature, and the power of words and poetry.

A little girl enjoys writing poems and gets an unexpected surprise when she writes a poem and gives it to a tree, making “the world more splendid."

Sylvia marks the end of winter with a poem about springtime. After reading it to a squirrel, she ties it to a tree (“hoping that it didn’t count as littering”). When she passes the tree on her way to school the next day, she finds a surprise—another poem on the tree. “She never imagined the tree might write back.” Sylvia continues to write poems to the tree and waits to find the next poem. When she realizes a teasing classmate, Walt, is the author of the other poems, she is sad: “Had the tree she loved so much not given her a thing?” Not too unsurprisingly, the two poets become friends, harmoniously trading rhymes beneath the tree that has brought them together. Using precise, intelligent prose, Reynolds captures moments of a child’s innocence: “ ‘So what’s your name?’ Sylvia asked the tree. But the tree stood in silence. ‘Are you shy like me?’ The tree nodded in the breeze. Sylvia understood.” Maydani’s delicate, pencil-and-watercolor paintings, suffused with spring pastels, affectionately invest Sylvia (who has brown skin), Walt (who presents white), and even the tree with personality.

A sweet and quiet homage to friendship, nature, and the power of words and poetry. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-53912-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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