An Egret's Day

Overview

Poems and photographs take readers up close to observe the daily life of the extraordinary Great Egret. A Great Egret rarely rests. This majestic bird, with its big feet, even bigger beak, and breathtaking lacy wings, is a treat to watch. With his camera, photographer Jason Stemple takes us close to these magnificent creatures to witness their physical—and quirky—beauty as well as their daily habits and behavior—soaring, hunting, preening, nesting—which most of us never get a chance to see. Meanwhile, celebrated ...

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Overview

Poems and photographs take readers up close to observe the daily life of the extraordinary Great Egret. A Great Egret rarely rests. This majestic bird, with its big feet, even bigger beak, and breathtaking lacy wings, is a treat to watch. With his camera, photographer Jason Stemple takes us close to these magnificent creatures to witness their physical—and quirky—beauty as well as their daily habits and behavior—soaring, hunting, preening, nesting—which most of us never get a chance to see. Meanwhile, celebrated poet Jane Yolen offers her keen observations in carefully-crafted poetry that is at once whimsical, thoughtful, and thought provoking. Interesting facts about the bird accompany each poem in this National Outdoor Book Awards Honor Book.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—The daily activities of the Great Egret are described in verse and narrative. Stunning full-color photographs illustrate such topics as preening, plumes, flight, size, and nesting. For example, "On the Hunt/What Do Egrets Eat?" informs readers that egrets are known as "ambush predators" that silently wait for their prey to come to them. This characteristic is poetically described as, "He is a world-class waiter,/Waiting (and wading)/In the muddied water/Till a shadow below/Lets him know that a fish/Is near. Then SPLISH-/SPLASH, that knife-sharp beak/breaks the surface/and brings back a surfeit:/Breakfast, lunch, dinner./Almost every strike a winner." The accompanying three photographs show the bird wading, striking and splashing the water, and holding a captured fish in its beak. A two-page close-up of its feather illustrates the chapter on plumes, and the Great Egret's large black feet are contrasted with the smaller golden feet of the Snowy Egret in text and art for the poem "Some Feet." Every spread features an informative paragraph, a vivid poem, and photographs sparkling with glossy details.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Children's Literature - Karen Leggett
Mother and son combine their talents, once again, to share the elegant world of the egret. The poetry is often as spare and perfectly formed as the curve in the egret's neck: "Grass stalks,/Then grass walks./Look out, fish." Each page includes a paragraph of prose to tell us what egrets eat, how they fly, and why they preen. "He is his own Laundromat … The talented Great Egret is truly wash-and-wear." Yolen and Stemple will very likely be introducing the egret for the very first time to readers of many ages. Who cannot marvel at the aerodynamic shape of an egret in flight, the white-against-green fluff of an egret roosting, the striking orange beak that stretches all across the cover of the book? Smithsonian ornithologist John H. Rappole served as consultant for An Egret's Day, as art joins science in a celebration of one of the great wonders of nature. Reviewer: Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—The daily activities of the Great Egret are described in verse and narrative. Stunning full-color photographs illustrate such topics as preening, plumes, flight, size, and nesting. For example, "On the Hunt/What Do Egrets Eat?" informs readers that egrets are known as "ambush predators" that silently wait for their prey to come to them. This characteristic is poetically described as, "He is a world-class waiter,/Waiting (and wading)/In the muddied water/Till a shadow below/Lets him know that a fish/Is near. Then SPLISH-/SPLASH, that knife-sharp beak/breaks the surface/and brings back a surfeit:/Breakfast, lunch, dinner./Almost every strike a winner." The accompanying three photographs show the bird wading, striking and splashing the water, and holding a captured fish in its beak. A two-page close-up of its feather illustrates the chapter on plumes, and the Great Egret's large black feet are contrasted with the smaller golden feet of the Snowy Egret in text and art for the poem "Some Feet." Every spread features an informative paragraph, a vivid poem, and photographs sparkling with glossy details.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Poetry and short informative paragraphs combine to celebrate both the elegance and the natural history of the American egret. Haiku, free verse, rhyming couplets and even a limerick are just some of the forms Yolen masterfully uses to engage readers on both aesthetic and scientific levels. Gorgeous photography completes this carefully designed literary science piece with scenes of the egret's daily life. Stemple captures the egret's movements as the light of each part of the day, from the yellow-orange glow of sunrise to midday pink to late afternoon sunset blue to evening purple, is reflected on its snow-white feathers. Both the poetry and the brief fact-filled vignettes explain how egrets walk, eat, fly and preen and how their plumes, so lace-like, were once coveted for decorating clothes and hats. A final poem muses on the future of this great wading bird in a country filled with polluted wetlands. A stunning combination of scientific and ecological knowledge offered through a graceful fusion of lyrical and visual media. (Informational picture book/poetry. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590786505
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 986,685
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen has received numerous awards for her writing, including the Golden Kite Award, two Christopher Medals, and both the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota and the Regina Medal for her body of work. In 2011 she was named Grand Master by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts, and St. Andrews, Scotland.

Jason Stemple is free-lance photographer who provided the photographs for A Mirror to Nature by Jane Yolen, winner of the John Burroughs Young Readers Award and for Wild Things by Jane Yolen, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award. He was recently named an Artist in Residence at the Everglades National Park in Florida. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

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