Hooray for U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis. His title could be a burden to some, seen like a crown to be knocked off one’s head.
The responsibility hasn’t stopped Lewis from remaining a working poet. He’s kept creating, and creating well. His latest is a series of 14 interconnected poems, allowing young readers to ponder the characteristics of different creatures. Other riddles let us appreciate the relationships nature offers.
Lewis rhymes with effortless joy. To comment on dragonflies, he avoids the obvious. His take is anything but medieval:
Skimming ponds and county lanes,
Whizzing wings of windowpanes.
Look, a pair of fairy planes.
The perfect end to the book comes in speculating on humans being animals, too. Are the stars of the book reading about themselves or us?
Renee Graef paints personable illustrations for each poem, allowing children to both recognize and like each featured animal. The typography for each two-page spread becomes a co-star for Graef’s art. Words curve, dip and move to complement the antics of each animal.
Best of all, Lewis offers a welcoming read-aloud for adults to share with young listeners. No multi-syllabic tongue twisters to derail a reader. Sound like a star when you’re reading this effort from one of our starring poets.
—Tom Owens, author
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