Monday, April 19, 2010
Sharing the Seasons, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by David Diaz. Simon & Schuster. 2010. $28.99 ages 4 and up
Lee Bennett Hopkins
fledglings on wing
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to share poetry with everyone. My kids know it because I often phone them to read special new poems I love. I share poetry in school classrooms, and with friends. We are blessed to have an amazing group of poets writing poetry for children today.
When speaking of American poets, Lee Bennett Hopkins comes immediately to mind. He is a 'pied piper' for children and poetry. He is an anthologist, a poet, and a much-admired mentor. In his new book, he has both written and selected poems across the seasons, that are meant to be shared and shared again. It is a wonderful collection!
As we come to each new season, its introduction is a quote. The first is from Longfellow and it leads us to an original poem written by Lee B Hopkins about spring for this fine book. What follows are eleven poems, making an even dozen each time, from poets whose work we have admired through the years. Summer is introduced by Henry James. So it goes through each season from spring to winter, exploring the markers that remind us of the year's passing. Some poems may be familiar to you, others will not. Each will delight the ear, inspire sharing and perhaps even provide encouragement for you, and for your children and students, to 'give it a go'...look with your senses at all that is there for you to see, touch, taste, hear and smell. Use your heart and head to help find the words to describe our world and its wonders.
You will have experienced much of what is described here. The early warmth of the spring sun, the intense heat of summer that encourages you to do nothing but sit, the first gentle snow of November and the bitter cold that takes your breath away in winter...they are all here. They will conjure up memories of past seasons for you, some to share and others best forgotten.
David Diaz uses mixed media to create a gorgeous backdrop for the poems chosen. They provide a batik-like background, shining with brilliant colors and filling each page. There is so much to see as the eye wanders from one image to the next, always aware of the season's passing while reminding us of its beauty. I know you will have a favorite...or more! I love the children jumping rope and riding their scooters, a sure sogn that 'road rash' on knees and elbows is just around the corner. Being a ferris wheel rider, I could feel my stomach lurch as the wheel reaches its full height amidst fireworks, summer heat and sno-cones.