DESERT SONG by Tony Johnston

DESERT SONG

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

When twilight comes to the Sonoran desert, bats fly from their cave “like dry leaves blowing, like shadows on the wing,” searching for insects. Moths, ants, weevils, and beetles populate the darkness. Some night animals sing, the owl and the coyote (“Song of wonder. Song of hunger. Song of being alone”), in contrast to the silence of snakes and the whirr of the bats. The text is a song, too, singing the desert’s beauty. Young’s striking illustrations of pastels, collage, and textured paper show animals not mentioned in the text—javelinas and a lizard—as well as some that are: bats, owl, quail, and coyote. Oddly, the snake, though mentioned, is missing from the pictures, perhaps hidden in the sinuous moonlit ridges of sand. When “morning blooms” the “night things / slip into the cool / of desert hiding places,” and the bats fly home until “twilight comes again.” Pictures and text are gentle and poetic, suggesting the mystery of the desert at night, where all is not as quiet as it might first appear. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-87156-491-2
Page count: 32pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2000




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