Friday, August 22, 2014

Poetry Friday with a review of On the Wing by Douglas Florian

Douglas Florian is a poet and artist who has created poetry picture books that explore a wide variety of subjects. Over the years I have greatly enjoyed reading these books, and it is interesting to see how he applies his considerable talent to take on a new topic that interests him.

Douglas Florian
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Harcourt, 1996, 978-0152023669
Birds truly are remarkable animals. They come in a dazzling array of colors, live on every continent, and make their homes in all kinds of places. In this wonderful picture book Douglas Florian pairs short poems with his artwork to give readers a true celebration of birds.
   Over the millennia birds have evolved to suit many kinds of environments. Some birds, like the egret, sail on water and then rest on the beach making it seem as if there is a “feathered hat” lying on the sand. Dippers love to dip and dive in waterfalls. They are so aquatic that one wonders if they would be happy to “trade / Their oily wings for flippers.” They are such good swimmers that it is possible that the little birds might “think that they are fish.”
   Birds come in all shapes and sizes. The spoonbill is tall and thin with a beak that does indeed look like a long-handled spoon. In his poem about this rather odd looking species, Douglas Florian wonders if the spoonbill uses its bill “for stirring tea” or does it “use it as a scoop / For eating peas and drinking soup.”
   The stork has a bill that is perfectly suited for the environment it lives in. Wading through shallow water, the bird uses it rapier like bill to stab frogs and other creatures. Woodpeckers also have beaks that are perfectly adapted so that they can get to their chosen food - insects that live in wood and sap that runs through wood. Not only are these beaks perfect for creating holes, but woodpeckers also use them to communicate.
   With clever touches of humor and insightful descriptions, this collection of poems will give young readers a colorful picture of twenty-one bird species.

2 comments:

Brano Willis said...

Thank you for the review. I'll surely read Douglas' book. I want to have a brief review of the book named, " 42 Bible Stories for Little Ones". It is a children's book at Church Supply Store for $14.95. Thank you in advance.

Douglas Florian said...

I was browsing blogs and came across your kind and thoughtful review of my book on the wing. If I had to do this book again I would choose more familiar birds and less "rare birds" such as spoonbills, green catbirds, the Rhinoceros Hornbill, and dippers (my editor Allyn Johnston loves them). I worked hard to make this book both informative and fun. My favorite poem is The Woodpeckers: Woodpeckers are peckuliar things/ They pick to peck and not to sing.
Thanks so much for your support. You deserve an award for reviewing some 4,000 books and I hereby nominate you as The Book Blogger of the Year!