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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

by Joyce Sidman
illustrated by Rick Allen
published by HMH Books for Young Readers


Filled with vivid illustrations and exuberant form poetry, the book is a delight to behold and experience, as it takes us on an excursion into the winter life of the creatures living in the extreme north.

Joyce Sidman, a master poet, has invited the kids to experience the magic of winter, as well as its harshness.

I’m a big brown moose,
I’m a rascally moose,
I’m a moose with a tough, shaggy hide;
and I kick and I prance
in a long-legged dance
with my moose-mama close by my side.
...

We instantly love this baby moose who is not afraid to tough it out in the tundra.

Chickadees song in collective voice is energizing.

From dawn to dusk in darkling air
we glean and gulp and pluck and snare,
then find a roost that’s snug and tight
to brave the long and frozen night.
...


Image Source: HMH Young Readers


Not just animals, but plants are celebrated as well -- skunk cabbage gets a dedicated triolet.

Skunk cabbage peeks up through the snow:
the first flower in the wood.
Wreathed in an eerie purple glow,
up through the slick of soggy snow,
smelling of rotten buffalo,
...

Even the snowflake!

Snowflake wakes,
whirling,
arms outstretched,
lace sprouting from fingertips

Leaps, laughing
in a dizzy cloud,
a pinwheel gathering glitter
...


The Whole World is Melting leaves us with the warmth and hope of Spring.

Printmaker extraordinaire, Rick Allen, adds intricate detail via the linoleum blocks cut precisely to present the exact image that livens up the poems. The hours of work involved in making these block prints is astounding but even more astounding is the results! Each page is a work of art that is simply brilliant!

Sidebar on each page provides notes about the animals.

We revisited this book for the National Poetry month and dream of housing a copy on our bookshelf soon. Also by Joyce Sidman, the Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night is a treat to read as well.

[image source: houghtonmifflin]

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