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Saturday, June 8, 2013

WHAT in the WILD? Ear-Tickling Poems by David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy and Eye-Tickling Photos by Dwight Kuhn. Tricycle Press, Random House. 2010. $18.99 ages 6 and up

"If you like to be a nature detective, you'll find plenty of cases to crack on these pages. The woods, fields, marshes, rivers, ponds, deserts, farms, and other places are alive with brain teasers waiting to be solved. Welcome to a world of wonder."

In a series of ten poems that are actually riddles concerning the natural world, the authors give us cause to wonder. The clear and beautiful photographs will hold readers in awe of the tiny creatures described. Some will be familiar to you....others may not be.

This is the third book of poetry from this talented team. They began with  Where in the Wild? (2007)  and I have shared the other two often with children and in workshops. Brilliant in design and intriguing for readers, they deserve attention and purchase. I love that there is a new one to share!

What in the Wild takes a bit of a different stance. The design remains the same...a poem on the left hand side and a photo on the right. In the first two books the object described was camouflaged within the photo and readers were invited to use careful observation. In this one, the mystery is in plain sight and we are invited to guess what it might be. Once the thoughtful detective work has run its course, a flap on the right side offers the answer to the mystery presented:

"I live underground.
I don't see very well.
To forage for food,
I touch and I smell.

My odd nose is starry.
My sharp claws are big,
By day and by night,
I sniff as I dig.

I make many tunnels,
Pushing dirt aboveground.
To me, it's a mountain -
To you, a small mound!"

Under the flap, a star-nosed mole is revealed using a variety of photographs and adding an informative collection of facts concerning the mysterious visitor.  The poems are often written in first person, providing clear invitations to take a long walk in varying habitats with eyes wide open to ensure incredible discoveries. The poetry offers as much variety as the creatures themselves. A list for further reading is found on the copyright book for everyone included here.

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