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Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems
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Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems

5.0 1
by Paul B. Janeczko, Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)
 
Celebrated poet and anthologist Paul B. Janeczko pairs with Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet for a collection of short poems to sample and savor.

It only takes a few words, if they’re the right words, to create a strong image. Whether listened to in the comfort of a cozy lap or read independently, the thirty-six very short poems in this

Overview

Celebrated poet and anthologist Paul B. Janeczko pairs with Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet for a collection of short poems to sample and savor.

It only takes a few words, if they’re the right words, to create a strong image. Whether listened to in the comfort of a cozy lap or read independently, the thirty-six very short poems in this collection remind readers young and old that a few perfect words and pictures can make the world glow. Selected by acclaimed poet Paul B. Janeczko and gorgeously illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems invites children to sample poems throughout the four seasons.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - John Lithgow
Anthologies of poetry for young people are never in short supply…But Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems is a glorious example of the genre. Paul B. Janeczko has selected 36 poetic gems with an expert's ear, matching them ingeniously to the four seasons…Janeczko has a brilliant accomplice in his act of literary reimagination…Sweet's spectacular mixed-media illustrations seem poised to break free from the book's large pages. They are alternately delicate and bold, mistily atmospheric and scorchingly bright. Her touch combines the rigor of a mature artist and the scratchy abandon of a child. Best of all, they illuminate the poetry with genuine wit, intelligence and emotion. They are poems come to life.
Publishers Weekly
★ 01/06/2014
Never more than six or seven lines long—and some are just a few words—each poem in Janeczko’s (A Foot in the Mouth) spirited anthology celebrates an aspect of the seasons. Evocative and accessible, they make excellent prompts for classroom poetry exercises. “What is it the wind has lost,” ask poets Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, “that she keeps looking for/ under each leaf?” Sweet’s (Little Red Writing) artwork is marvelously varied. In some spreads, the animals and people are drafted in thoughtful detail, while in others her line is loopy and spontaneous. Dragonflies and crickets blink with flirtatious cartoon-character eyes in one scene, while fireflies and their haunting light are painted with meditative calm in another. Beach towels are striped in hot colors; fog in a city is rice paper glued over a collage of tall buildings. William Carlos Williams’s red wheelbarrow and Carl Sandburg’s little cat feet appear along with lesser-known works. Even Langston Hughes’s poem about a crowded subway sounds a note of hope: “Mingled/ breath and smell/ so close/ mingled/ black and white/ so near/ no room for fear.” Ages 6–9. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Anthologies of poetry for young people are never in short supply. But "Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems" is a glorious example of the genre. Paul B. Janeczko has selected 36 poetic gems with an expert’s ear, matching them ingeniously to the four seasons. ... This marriage of verbal and visual imagery has the effect of making some familiar, even hoary poems suddenly seem utterly new. ... The poems are short, accessible and child-friendly, but they are far from unsophisticated. ... Janeczko has a brilliant accomplice in his act of literary reimagination. This is his illustrator, Melissa Sweet. Sweet’s spectacular mixed-media illustrations seem poised to break free from the book’s large pages. They are alternately delicate and bold, mistily atmospheric and scorchingly bright. Her touch combines the rigor of a mature artist and the scratchy abandon of a child. Best of all, they illuminate the poetry with genuine wit, intelligence and emotion. They are poems come to life.
—The New York Times Book Review

Organized by the seasons, beginning with spring, this collection of 36 impeccably chosen short poems demonstrates that significant emotional power can reside in just a few lines. In obvious contrast with such small bites of poetry, the large-format design explodes with bright and expressive watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media collages. Colors and shapes with willowy details expertly blur or bring bits of the images into focus to create a magical sense of place, time, and beauty. ... Every poem evokes a moment, and, combined with its corresponding full-bleed illustration, the season is captured for readers to remember, experience, or anticipate. Any collection will be brighter with the inclusion of this treasure.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

In their brevity, the poems remind us that less can often be more and that there is art in economy. ... Caldecott Honor artist Sweet’s pictures are, in a word, gorgeous. Executed in watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media, they capture and expand the spirit and sensibility of the verses they illustrate to wonderful effect. The harmonious cooperation of words and images provides a memorable reading experience for each season and for the whole year ‘round.
—Booklist (starred review)

Janeczko artfully arranges 36 elegant poems among the four seasons. ... Sweet’s effervescent mixed-media collages include signature elements like graph paper and saturated pinks; the large format engenders some expansive compositions, such as one showing the curve of the Earth near an enormous, smiling full moon. Inventive details abound, too: The last spread shows a child asleep under a crazy quilt that incorporates motifs from all four seasons—a perfect visual ending. Scintillating!
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A spirited anthology. Evocative and accessible. Sweet’s artwork is marvelously varied.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Most of [the poems] are bijou bursts of imagery, capturing a moment or provoking contemplation with a fresh metaphor. Sweet’s mixed-media art is elegant, quirky, and friendly... While the inviting art and poetic brevity will lure younger readers (and readaloud audiences), there’s a sophistication in the poetic metaphors that will keep even older elementary readers engaged, and the compactness of the verse and visual translation will help reluctant poetry readers look at verse in a new light.
—Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books

"Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems" is something quite special. ... There's no better way to introduce little ones to the verses of Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Richard Wright and more.
—BookPage Online

[R]ich with color and filled with Melissa Sweet's eventful, expressive illustrations, "Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems" stands out for its good looks and the charm of its concise verses, anthologized by Paul B. Janeczko.
—The Wall Street Journal

It's little wonder that Firefly July entranced me as much as it did. I don’t consider myself a poetry connoisseur so it takes something special to break through to me as much as this book did. ... Lulling and lovely, there’s something for everyone inside.
—A Fuse #8 Production (SLJ blog)

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
A very large and boldly illustrated book is juxtaposed with specifically selected brief poems to describe the four seasons of the year. The poetry is divided by season and starts, not in January, but on an early morning spring day with a poem called “Daybreak Reminds Us” by Cid Corman. Some of the poems are as brief and formal as haikus, as in the summery “Sandpipers” (“Sandpipers run with their needle breaks digging—they’re hemming the ocean.”); some are old friends revisited (“The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.”) The illustrations are a major selling point of the book: big and splashed with pastels, or mixed media collages in which a realistic spoon hangs from a pink-clouded sky. Each illustration has a style of its own which speaks to the poem it represents. In adjoining poems a crow flies from a Robert Frost poem (“The way a crow shook down on me the dust of snow from a hemlock tree.”) to a murder of crows on a red ribbed snowy fence (poem by Ted Kooser), meandering through a starkly white winter field. The final entry is a bedtime poem by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser (“A welcome mat of moonlight on the floor. Wipe your feet before getting into bed.”), with a slumbering child under a dragonfly-strewn counterpane. All in all, this beautifully curated volume provides a satisfying way to traverse the year with brief bursts of beautiful rhyme. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 5 to 12.
School Library Journal
★ 02/01/2014
K-Gr 4—Organized by the seasons, beginning with spring, this collection of 36 impeccably chosen short poems demonstrates that significant emotional power can reside in just a few lines. In obvious contrast with such small bites of poetry, the large-format design explodes with bright and expressive watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media collages. Colors and shapes with willowy details expertly blur or bring bits of the images into focus to create a magical sense of place, time, and beauty. The poems range from work by William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, and Langston Hughes to that of James Stevenson, Joyce Sidman, and Ralph Fletcher. The first verse opens the book with daybreak, and after exploring the whole year, the final selection sends readers off to sleep: "A welcome mat of moonlight/on the floor. Wipe your feet/before getting into bed" (Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser). Every poem evokes a moment, and, combined with its corresponding full-bleed illustration, the season is captured for readers to remember, experience, or anticipate. Any collection will be brighter with the inclusion of this treasure.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-15
Choosing from works spanning three centuries, Janeczko artfully arranges 36 elegant poems among the four seasons. With each poem's relationship to its season often subtle or tangential, Janeczko avoids the trite repetition flawing some seasonal poetry collections. The initial poem, by Cid Corman for "Spring," lauds a dawn scene: "Daybreak reminds us— / the hills have arrived just in / time to celebrate." Emily Dickinson's poem shimmers in the "Summer" section: "The Moon was but a Chin of Gold / A Night or two ago —/ And now she turns Her perfect Face / Upon the World below…." (The moon's presence shines throughout, in eight poems.) Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, whose published 2003 collaboration is represented by two poems, offer this autumnal musing: "What is it the wind has lost / that she keeps looking for / under each leaf?" The winter poems are snowy, but they are also laced with fog; nature scenes alternate with depictions of a subway, a rusting truck, harbor boats and more. Sweet's effervescent mixed-media collages include signature elements like graph paper and saturated pinks; the large format engenders some expansive compositions, such as one showing the curve of the Earth near an enormous, smiling full moon. Inventive details abound, too: The last spread shows a child asleep under a crazy quilt that incorporates motifs from all four seasons—a perfect visual ending. Scintillating! (permissions, acknowledgments) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763648428
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
03/11/2014
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
396,254
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Paul B. Janeczko is the anthologist of almost fifty collections, including the award-winning A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, and A Foot in the Mouth, all illustrated by Chris Raschka. He is also the author of Requiem: Poems of the Terezín Ghetto and Worlds Afire, a collection of poems about the 1944 circus fire in Hartford. Paul B. Janeczko lives in Hebron, Maine.

Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly one hundred books for children, including A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, a 2009 Caldecott Honor Book. She is also the creator of Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, a 2012 Robert F. Sibert Medal Winner. Melissa Sweet lives in Rockport, Maine.

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Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully illustrated!