Fireflies at Midnight


A robin cheerfully greets the day at dawn.
A horse nibbles grass under the heat of the midday sun.
A rabbit stands still, disappearing into the grass at dusk.
As evening falls, a frog tells the world that he's the king of the pond.
During one summer day, these and other creatures tell their tales, celebrating their ordinary — but extraordinary — lives in verse. Young readers ...

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A robin cheerfully greets the day at dawn.
A horse nibbles grass under the heat of the midday sun.
A rabbit stands still, disappearing into the grass at dusk.
As evening falls, a frog tells the world that he's the king of the pond.
During one summer day, these and other creatures tell their tales, celebrating their ordinary — but extraordinary — lives in verse. Young readers will be entranced by the many voices created by renowned poet Marilyn Singer. They will be encouraged to look more closely at the surprising world around them — morning, noon, and night.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Fireflies at Midnight by Marilyn Singer, a summer day unfolds through the voices of various animals, from a robin at dawn ("Up cheerup I'm up/ Let me be first to greet the light"), to a bat ("I hear/ I see/ the night"), to a mole the following dawn ("In the beneath/ it is mole time/ the whole time"). Ken Robbins's photorealistic art brings each animal into an up-close, often soft focus. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Fourteen hauntingly beautiful poems allow various different animals to share glimpses of their lives with the reader, each one focusing on some captured moment of the day, from dawn to dusk to midnight and back to dawn again. We meet an otter enjoying early-morning play: "It starts with the slide/ with the mud/ with the ride/ Then the splash/ and the dip/ and the flip/ and the glide." Patient ants work together to drag home an enormous fallen leaf: "One and one and one and one/ is the best way/ to get things done." A red eft slowly crosses the street, safe in the knowledge that "I have four steady legs/ few enemies/ and all the time/ in the world." At dark a bat closes in on his prey: "Mosquitoes swarm/ I ride a breeze/ The air is warm/ I hear/I see/ I fly I find/ I near/ I seize." Each poem offers the reader one of those wonderful shivery moments when the words click into place in some unforgettable image that seems absolutely inevitable and right. Robbins' accompanying full-page illustrations have the same quality of perfectly catching a fleeting moment that otherwise would have disappeared forever. 2003, Atheneum,
— Claudia Mills
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-Brief poetic musings set throughout the course of a day capture the true nature of a variety of everyday creatures. The vividly realized photo treatments are at once hyperrealistic and dreamlike, reinforcing the feeling of moments frozen in time. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Devoted fans of Turtle in July (1989) will savor each minute spent with this companion collection of chronologically organized poems from the prolific and versatile poet. This time, Singer spreads her evocative poems throughout a single day, from a robin "first to greet the light" and a cavorting otter out for a morning swim to ants in the afternoon, a camouflaged rabbit at dusk, the eponymous fireflies flashing at midnight, and on through the night to a mole digging in for sleep as a new dawn approaches. Singer once again captures the intrinsic character of each animal's nature or movement through innovative poetic devices: swooping rhymes describing the playful otter, a rollicking rhythm for a poem about a horse, and a strong two-beat meter for a monarch butterfly that reflects the beating pattern of its wings. She divides the 14 poems evenly between rhyming and non-rhyming works, and all of them employ unusual rhyme schemes or structures. The innovative poetry is well complemented with unusual photographic illustrations that sometimes look like photographic collages and other times like watercolors or oil paintings. The volume's thoughtful design includes firefly-spangled endpapers and a subtle reminder at the top of each poem delineating the time of day. The midnight blue cover with glowing fireflies hints at the magical nature of what lies inside: luminous poems that will stand the test of time. (Poetry. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689824920
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,009,033
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.70 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer has written more than seventy books for children and young adults. Her works include novels, poetry, nature books, picture books, fairy tales, mysteries, and two other short story anthologies: Stay True: Short Stories for Strong Girls and I Believe in Water: Twelve Brushes with Religion. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and many pets.

Ken Robbins specializes in photographic nonfiction books on subjects ranging from the Brooklyn Bridge to autumn leaves. His book Tools, with its trademark hand-tinted photographs was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. His books for Atheneum include Fireflies at Midnight by Marilyn Singer, Trucks, Thunder on the Plains, and Apples. Mr. Robbins lives in East Hampton, Long Island.

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