I have reviewed many of Douglas Florian's splendid poetry picture books and have enjoyed them all, but I think today's book is one of his best. The artwork is perfectly paired with a wide variety of poetry forms and you never quite know what is coming next.
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Harcourt, 2007, 978-0-15-205372-7
For centuries humans have looked up into the night sky and they have wondered about the stars, the moon, the Milky Way and the other celestial marvels that they could see with their eyes. Then telescopes were invented and people began to appreciate how immense the universe is. Stars and planets have helped guide people across lands and seas, and they have inspired artists, musicians and writers to describe them in paint, notes, and words. In this beautiful poetry picture book Douglas Florian takes us up into the heavens to explore.
We begin our journey with a poem that looks at the big picture. It invites and encourages us to “Skywatch.” As we look up we may see “a planet or / A flash of light from a meteor.” We can use a constellation chart so that we can “tell the stars apart.”
In the next poem the poet (and illustrator) ruminates on the hugeness and everythingness of the universe. It is “every place” and includes all the “empty space.” We are all a part of the universe, every “cat and dog and bumblebee.”
A galaxy is a large collection of stars. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are spirals, some are egg-shaped, and some are flat. The one thing that they have in common is that they all have “stars, and stars, and stars.”
After looking at the spiraling words of the galaxy poem we move on to the solar system, the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and other planets. We go to the moon, find out about asteroids and “planetoids,” a comet, the constellations, and a black hole. Finally we think about “the great beyond.” The author tells us how he could tell us so much more, but he has “run out of space.”With unique artwork, die cut features on the pages, and wonderful poems, this celebration of the heavens will delight children who are interested in space.