Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Behind the Books: More Science Poetry for Kids

2010 was a banner year for Joyce Sidman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published two new science poetry volumes by her. Ubiquitous came out early in the year, and Dark Emperor snuck in at the end—just in time to win a Newbery honor.

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors was a very ambitious project that literally spanned billions of years and described some of the hardiest critters to ever call Earth home. Here’s my favorite poem from that collection.

Gecko on the Wall
Her jaws dart out
     to crunch up flies.
Her tongue flicks up
     to wipe her eyes.

She climbs up walls
     with eerie cries.

Her tail comes off:
     a wriggling prize

She sprints and leaps
     And slinks and spies . . .

Sigh,
Don’t you wish you were a gecko?

Just like the Caldecott committee, I fell in love with Sidman’s Song of the Waterboatman when it was released in 2005. And I was absolutely thrilled when a Booklist reviewer suggested pairing it with my book Under the Snow.

Because I had read that Dark Emperor was mean tto be a companion title to Song of the Waterboatman, I came to the new book with some hesitation. How could it possibly live up to my expectations?

Well, I’m pleased to report that I love, love, love Dark Emperor too. In fact, it’s impossible for me to choose a favorite poem to share with you. You’ll just have to get a copy of the book and read it from cover to cover. You’ll be entranced by “Night-Spider’s Advice” and laugh at the irresistible cuteness of “I Am a Baby Porcupette.” You also won’t want to miss “Cricket Speaks” or “Bat Wraps Up.”

Can you think of other delightful collections of science poetry?

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