The team behind A Mirror to Nature and Wild Wings offers another striking pairing of poems and photographs about the natural world, in this case the mysterious lives of insects. Each poem (and photograph) is a careful observation of its subject, whether a graceful butterfly ("A tutu-clad dancer,/ I move with lightness") or a tick ("The tick is mostly mouth,/ and if he lands on you/ he'll try to suck your blood,/ 'cause that's what all ticks do"). Each spread also includes a short prose passage with additional information and observations. Regarding a swarm of insects, Yolen writes, "Jason and I don't actually know which bugs are swarming or why.... Sometimes nature is like that." Ages 5-up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Gr 3-5--A few of the insects and arachnids highlighted here are a bit villainous, but the teaser title is a tad misleading. The tick sucks blood and leaves some ick, but sometimes the poet conveys more complex and even contradictory ideas of an insect. Regarding a dragonfly, she writes: "He lights upon a bit of grass/With angel wings of dark-stained glass./But alien his stranger's face,/A visitor from outer space./I wonder if he knows that he/Is monstrous to one like me." Stemple's magnified photographs offer bold, intriguing views, though the dramatic partial view of the praying mantis, for instance, in no way conveys the imagery of the poem or the accompanying factual description. As in their many previous volumes, Yolen and Stemple add a small blurb of nonfiction, varied in length and scope, to the paired poem and photograph in each double-page entry. Playful in word use, the poems employ a pleasing array of rhyme schemes in well-shaped verses and an occasional limerick. Some references will likely elude many readers. "An army of ants in their working-class pants,/'They don't stop for movies, they don't stop to dance./An all-female work force, their food stores enhance,/Toiling too hard to consider romance." The author's opening note encourages readers to write poetry, and the book might be used to spark children's creative responses to nature. The bold jacket will attract browsers while the most likely readers would seem to be children and adults who favor nature-poetry picture books.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston[Page 73]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.