Thursday, December 13, 2018

Poetry Friday - Wildlife Hiding

          Laura Shovan hosts our Poetry Friday today with snow!  Thanks for hosting, Laura!

           When I received Sarah Grace Tuttle's name for our Winter Swap I knew what I could write about, nature. Yet, re-reading her beautiful debut book Hidden City-Poems of Urban Wildlife left me a bit daunted. I read and reviewed it in the spring and loved it so much I bought it. Now I had Sarah's name and pulled out her book again, loved it again, and finally crafted a poem I thought would please. Here's my review of her book. If you haven't read and seen it, you must. 

             This is the poetry book to have for spring, as plants grow and all animals emerge more often, some not so welcome, but they are here, in the city! It is also for summer, then autumn and winter. Animals are busy all year. 
          In her debut book, Sarah Grace Tuttle has written twenty-eight poems about creatures and places of the city, finding living spaces that often vary from those in the country. And her pleasing and poetic words offer a new way to "pay attention", like to those sparrows that "chitter-cheep softly" waiting for rain to stop, or at the pond, "two ducks dabble down", and a "Falcon Fledge" where a young falcon "fumble-flies down/to a roof across the street: first flight." She includes some of my favorites, one found in wetlands by a nearby pond, the red-winged blackbirds, others in wooded areas, the great-horned owl, and those I only see at dusk, those little brown-bats. 
         The flora and fauna of Sarah's poems give illustrator Amy Schimler-Safford a wide array of places to create with her gorgeous mixed-media habitats. From outside in marshes, abandoned city lots and cemeteries, Amy's designs blend with Sarah's poetry beautifully. I especially love the page and poem titled "Sunflowers", showing all the things these beauties feed, like "bee, butterfly, sparrow, squirrel, me."
          At the back is a small paragraph of more information about each creature or place featured, plus "suggestions for further investigation".  If you believe only those in rural areas have wildlife encounters, you are mistaken. Sarah has shown that in this book of poetry about twenty-eight city wonders.

           And here is my poem. Luckily we had one snow that gave me inspiration.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Non-Fiction Picture Books - New ABCs

art by Sarah S. Brannen
           Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

             Thanks to Candlewick Press, I have a copy of this fascinating and beautiful book from Australia, this year published in the U.S. Amazing animals are found in Australia, many not found anywhere else in the world! 

          It begins appropriately with what else, Australia, with a large double-page spread showing all the animals that will be introduced, starting with B. Australia is of course surrounded by ocean with brief tidbits of facts floating in that ocean, like "There are roughly 50 million kangeroos in Australia. That's twice the number of people."

          As I read the book, I took notes of interesting facts and then realized the notes were simply too many to share in one review. I began with "Half of Australian's mammals are marsupials." And, I noted various pieces of information OR animals that are new to me, quite a few. The second spread introduces the Bilby & the Blue-tongued Skink. That Bilby looks like a rabbit, but manages to live in desert conditions, receives needed moisture from a bush onion which grows in the sand. It does not jump like a kangeroo or hop like a rabbit, but gallops like a pony. See what I mean, I'd love to tell it all!

          Readers will meet thirty-eight wonderful creatures with pertinent facts and through gorgeous illustrations of the animals, showing them in their habitats. There are a couple of vertical, double-page spreads, highlighting the flying fox (really a huge bat) and the sugar glider (a small possum that glides through the air between trees). Small maps of Australia on a back page show the habitat of each animal. This is a special alphabet book, for those studying animals and habitats or Australia's fauna along with flora. 

         If you are wondering if there is a "kookaburra" in the book? Yes, it is there, and the fact that its noisy call sounds like a human laugh supports that old Australian nursery song I learned long ago. "Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree. Merry, merry king of the bush is he. Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, kookaburra, gay your life must be. Ha, ha."  
          You may know Frané Lessac who has created several books for children, but most recently We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, by Traci Sorell.

Terrific book!

One of the most venomous creatures in the world, and also the smallest jellyfish.

I love that small echidna and recently read an account from another writer about the interesting emu.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Monday Reading - Wow Books!

              Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who post their favorites.

                I have a second post today HERE, sharing a book giveaway as part of a blog tour! Come visit!

              In this busy month, I wish you joy with family and friends and cozy times with a good book, wherever you are, whatever you celebrate.

Thanks to Candlewick for these two beautiful Christmas books. 
        It is a story of a homeless boy who discovers he can have his own Christmas tree. What he does with it and then the community shows a generous child making his own cheer in a sad situation. The illustrations are lovely and nostalgic with many snowy city scenes.
       It's a beautiful lift-the-flap exploration of nature as little tree realizes it is not so alone as it thinks. Each page holds several flaps and the words tease readers to find what's being said by lifting the flaps. Some of nature's things are visible, but others hide, and in clever places, too. Where is the "brilliant goldfinch (that) sings?" and where is the field mouse "who needs a place to hide"? It's a great book to introduce come of the wonders of nature.

            In brief poetic text, Suzanne Slade's shows the vision of President John Kennedy's challenge to go to the moon, covering the facts, the dangers, the community effort to complete the missions. She explains that it became even more imperative to finish what was started after the assassination of President Kennedy. After each mission, there are pages that show the basic facts and a picture of each astronaut. I noted that few are still living today. Throughout, real photos are there, along with Thomas Gonzalez' paintings that capture the action, the people, the places that until these space flights, no one had ever seen them before. They are stunning depictions of this marvelous history. It is a book to read, to savor, to then look again, being sure not to miss a thing. The backmatter adds more information, author's and illustrator's notes, a bibliography, source list for quotations and photo credits.