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)