Monday, April 25, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Birds of a feather by Jane Yolen, photographs by Jason Stemple

I don't review poetry. It's right there in my review policy "no poetry." I have no personal objection to poetry, and, in fact, have written quite a bit of it myself and even have a poetry blog. However, the main focus of my reviews is collection development. My library currently has a very large poetry collection with a correspondingly low circulation number. Our nonfiction section is painfully lacking in many more popular areas (sports, crafts, fairy tales) and even more lacking in less popular but equally important areas (history and biography). So, I made the decision to not purchase any more poetry for the foreseeable future. Except for that adorable guinea pig book....and replacements for Shel Silverstein...and, well hardly anything.

ANYWAYS. There's an exception to every rule and this is it. Jane Yolen, of course. Jason Stemple's gorgeous, close-up photographs of birds are paired with poetry that ranges from thoughtful, to funny, to profound. I saw the photograph of the chickadee and I was hooked, I read "Terns Galore" and I was in love:

"At the seaside, terns galore,
One tern, one tern, one tern more.
I tern. You tern.
My turn to fly, tern,
Overhead and high, tern.
Underneath and 'bye, tern.
Why, tern, why turn?
Turning terns are all returning,
There upon the shore."

So clever! Not only does each photograph feature poems in a wide variety of styles, there's also a block of information about each bird. This is a perfect title to hand to kids who don't think they like poetry, to bird-lovers, to poetry lovers, or just to random passersby.

Verdict: Slide this one into your poetry collection, even if you're thinning, weeding, or not buying much or any poetry. It's a great blend of poetry and nonfiction that will attract a wide range of readers.

ISBN: 9781590788301; Published April 2011 by WordSong; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates

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