I stop to read
the Forest News
in mud or fallen snow,
Articles are printed
by critters on the go.
Deer run through.
for hidden food.
drink sips of creek.
Mouse and hawk
play hide and seek.
Here a possum
climbs a tree trunk
with her child.
And in this place
while people sleep
a rabbit hops.
A housecat creeps.
tell about the day.
I stop to read
the Forest News
before it's worn away."
Early in the morning, here on a Saturday in Sebastopol, it is foggy and
chilly and relatively quiet. Just a crow complaining in the distance about
something or other.
It is pretty conducive to my transporting myself back to one of those
early Saturday mornings, many decades ago, when I shivered a bit as we walked
through a damp woods on the east coast; the pungent smell of rotting leaves
and fungi thick in the air; the remaining snow lying in patches in the
shelter of trees; a few squirrels observing our wanderings along a trail.
That is where this book takes me. There are times that I take great joy in having, so far, gotten to
experience everything from an early childhood of ancient black and white
television to this bold new era when I teach library students in several countries
without leaving my home.
But then, on the other hand, I've recently been exposed to an overload of
little children playing video games that are designed for teaching soldiers
how to kill. And cavernous marketplaces filled with plastic everythings.
And now, forty-something years after Joni Mitchell sat in a Manhattan hotel
room and wrote about our having to get back to the Garden (of Eden -- not
the nearby Madison Square one), I am thinking and fussing about how we, as
librarians, can help create a little bit of balance, a little bit of peace
and sanity in our little corners of the planet, by exposing our young
patrons and their parents to books like FOREST HAS A SONG, an exceptionally
beautiful book of poetry filled with whimsical verse and images about the
outdoors that are soothing my soul on this relatively quiet morning.
I'm a big fan of Robbin Gourley's watercolor illustrations, and I really
like how she has visualizes this collection of VanDerwater's poems about
traipsing through the woods. A girl and her dog are clearly at home in this
forest where they encounter pinecones, and chickadees and trilobites;
fiddleheads, and lichen and Lady's Slippers. I really like Gourley's provision of
white space, permitting my eyes a place to rest amidst the shadows of trees
as I quietly reflect on the poems and images.
were you someone's meal?
were you old?
did you freeze to death
in the cold?
how you'd tell the tale.
if you could.
who will bury you?
if I should."
FOREST HAS A SONG ends with a Farewell poem, in which the Forest whispers
to the girl that she should remember her. This is a fitting conclusion for
this very beautiful and memorable collection of poems.
ISBN: 978-0-618-843497 40 pages. Ages 6 & up.
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA See more of Richie's Picks at: http://richiespicks.com/
Have our children lost their connection to nature and woods and the great outdoors? Have they stopped paying attention and valuing the wonder in the world around them beyond digital screens and fast paced technological images?
Richard Louv wrote LAST CHILD LEFT IN THE WOODS: SAVING OUR CHILDREN FROM NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER to build awareness for the value and importance of nature in our lives, especially our children's lives and to make us stop and think about how much nature is woven into our children's days.
This lilting poetry book uses warm colors and good wishes to bring nature close to us. How do you get a child to think about nature? When you go out for a walk, how do you connect your child to the natural world around her?
Each poem in FOREST HAS A SONG is a little key to a different door in nature. Each line holds the possibility of opening a child's imagination and helping him see the delight and mystery in tiny little moments. Is that just a bird in a tree? Not if you read CHICKADEE and learn to see the world through the eyes of the bird.
Hear an echoing call? Could be a tree frog calling out a PROPOSAL to a lady frog. "Pick me now. Make me your choice. I'm one great frog."
The magic unfolds and reaches to us as an invitation into that amazing world of logs and lichens, and of squirrels and puffs.
A wonderful collection of poems to read aloud as the seasons turn. 32 pages Ages 5-9 978-0618843497
Recommended by: Barb