Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Poetry Friday with a review of In the Swim

The Earth's watery places are full of fascinating creatures. When I was a child I spent many hours lying face down in the Mediterranean Sea looking at fish and other creatures going about their business, and I remember those hours with great fondness. In today's poetry title you will meet some of the creatures who live in seas, lakes, rivers, and oceans.

In the Swim
Douglas Florian
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Harcourt, 1997, 0-15-202437-9
For some people large bodies of water are fascinating places. Though we have mapped most of them, we don’t really know everything there is to know about these environments. We certainly don’t know about all the creatures that live in them, but we do know about some of them, and we are going to meet just a few of these creatures in the poems in this book.
   Douglas Florian is a poet who has a gift for injecting humor into his poems. Often this humor is quirky. For example, in the very first poem we meet a catfish whose tone sounds rather annoyed. The reason for its annoyance is that it wants to make it perfectly clear that it is a fish, not a cat. Nor, for that matter, does have any wish to be a cat.
   Next we meet a salmon and the poem is cleverly presented so that we have to read up the page, just as salmon have to swim upstream to spawn. The poem about the sawfish is also presented in a unique way. It is jagged, just like a saw, and we learn that a sawfish cannot cut “A two-by-four,” or “build a bed.” It has its “splendid” saw so that it can get its fish dinner and it eats the fish raw, which means that is doesn’t have to “do dishes.”
   The catfish is not the only aquatic creature that was given a name that really does not do it justice. The sea horse is another such animal. Seahorses have no hooves, they cannot race, and “have no legs / With which to chase.” In fact they are so unlike a real horse that their name is just plain “silly.”

   Douglas Florian has created so many wonderful poetry collections and this one is sure to entertain and delight readers, just as the others have done. Throughout the book the twenty-one poems are accompanied by wonderful paintings that have the same quirkiness that you find in the poems.

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