I have a crush.
Oh my! Not this -
My crush is lasting.
It began in 2006, when the Caldecott committee awarded an Honor medal to the picture book, Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems.
I bought a copy and discovered not only wonderful woodblock, hand-colored illustrations by Beckie Prange, but also page after page of witty poems and fascinating facts.
What? Poetry and nonfiction? Together? In one book?
A pairing as perfect as peas and carrots! Strawberries and cream! Chocolate and more chocolate! I was smitten.
The book's author is Joyce Sidman, whom I consider to be the queen, the Grand High Poobah, the doyenne of this style of writing. (Too much? Am I gushing?) My personal favorite of her books is Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night (a Newbery Honor book, illustrated by Rick Allen).
This collection of poems explores the nighttime forest. The opening poem invites the reader to:
"Come feel the cool and shadowed breeze,
come smell your way among the trees,
come touch rough bark and leathered leaves..."
Each spread combines a clever poem with a column of factual information. The length and language of the lyrical and nonfiction parts are in perfect balance. Her observations are amazing. Wonderful for elementary school students and poetry lovers, too.
But watch out, Joyce Sidman! Others are vying for my attention.
Laura Purdie Salas has authored two books that fit the mold:
A Leaf Can Be... and Water Can Be...
For a younger-aged reader, each book consists of a single poem - a few luscious words per page that tease readers to discover the diverse and amazing uses of leaves and water. Illustrations by Violetta Dabija are as soft and cozy as a cashmere sweater. Factual information is left to the end of the book, so it doesn't interrupt the flow of the poems.
I also recently picked up Jennifer Ward's Mama Built a Little Nest.
Another great book for younger ages! Snappy four-line poems describe different types of nests being built, and snippets of facts expand the information. Realistic paper collage illustrations by Steve Jenkins had me thinking a bird might actually hop off the page and into my hands.
April is poetry month and the perfect excuse to read a book that combines poetry and fact. Maybe you'll develop a crush, too!
(And don't forget to sign up for our party prizes!
On this side >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>)