Forest Has a Song: Poems

Forest Has a Song: Poems

5.0 1
by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Robbin Gourley
     
 

A spider is a “never-tangling dangling spinner / knitting angles, trapping dinner.” A tree frog proposes, “Marry me. Please marry me… / Pick me now. / Make me your choice. / I’m one great frog / with one strong voice.” VanDerwater lets the denizens of the forest speak for themselves in twenty-six lighthearted, easy-to-read poems.

Overview

A spider is a “never-tangling dangling spinner / knitting angles, trapping dinner.” A tree frog proposes, “Marry me. Please marry me… / Pick me now. / Make me your choice. / I’m one great frog / with one strong voice.” VanDerwater lets the denizens of the forest speak for themselves in twenty-six lighthearted, easy-to-read poems. As she observes, “Silence in Forest / never lasts long. / Melody / is everywhere / mixing in / with piney air. / Forest has a song.” The graceful, appealing watercolor illustrations perfectly suit these charming poems that invite young readers into the woodland world at every season.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Moving gracefully through the seasons, newcomer VanDerwater shares a girl’s experience of what the forest has to offer. On a chilly spring day, she “stop to read/ the Forest News/ in mud or fallen snow./ Articles are printed/ by critters on the go” (Gourley shows the girl staring at a line of pale deer prints that lead to a distant grove). A slightly subversive sense of humor peeks through at times (a spider is “A never-tangling dangling spinner/ knitting angles, trapping dinner”), but the overall mood is serene, as when the girl dons her winterwear once more at year’s end: “I close my eyes/ to softly hear/ snowy voices/ crystal clear./ Each silver/ snowflake/ sings my name./ Guess what?/ No two sound the same.” Ages 6–9. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Moving gracefully through the seasons, newcomer VanDerwater shares a girl's experience of what the forest has to offer."
Publishers Weekly

"The imagery is fresh and original; it's accessible, too. Watercolor images of each poem's subject add to the appeal."
Kirkus

"Dip into this appealing collection for an introduction to early nature studies or poetry writing, or for generating some well-deserved enthusiasm for a stroll in the great outdoors."
Booklist

"The verses are approachable for readers and vivid for readaloud listeners, so this is a title with a broad spread of possible use. Even if there's no nearby forest, just have the kids close their eyes, listen to the poetry, and imagine that there is."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The book is an inviting tour for those who enjoy observing the natural world through poetry."
School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Short poems illustrated with watercolors catch the spirit of the forest, as a girl and animals communicate. Her family and a brown dog share the experience. In "Forest News" the girl looks at prints in the snow. "I stop to read the Forest News in mud or fallen snow. Articles are printed by critters on the go." A poem entitled "Spider" says "A never-tangling dangling spinner knitting angles, trapping dinner." The picture shows a fly caught in a web with a spider nearby. Beneath the web the father and mother are ready for a picnic while the boy and girl play ball. In "Song" it reads: "Silence in Forest never lasts long. Melody is everywhere mixing in with piney air. Forest has a song." The picture shows the mother with an arm around the girl, as the mother points to geese flying in a V. The dog watches. Children will understand this poetry as the quiet beauty of the forest is given a voice. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal
Gr 3–4—Creatures and plants and the sights and sounds of the forest are described from the perspective of a girl who appears occasionally in this collection of nature poems. Simple watercolor scenes, set on softly washed backgrounds or white space, run above, beneath, below, or alongside each selection, which generally focuses on a specific aspect of forest life. For example, "Moss" reads, "Barefoot on this emerald carpet/toe-by-toe I squish across./I softly sink in velvet green./Oh how I wish for socks of moss." The girl, other human companions, and her dog encounter chickadees, tree frogs, lady slippers, lichens, and fossils, and these forest experiences span the seasons. The poems are simple, well-shaped, and pleasant for read-aloud sharing. The book is an inviting tour for those who enjoy observing the natural world through poetry.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-six poems with varied structures offer quiet observations of the natural world. Vanderwater's studies are spare and sometimes personal. Loosely cast as a series of forest visits at different times of the year, they focus both on the large, as in the opening "Invitation," and the small--fiddleheads, lichens, a cardinal, a squirrel. The poet's imagination invites readers and listeners inside her subjects' heads. A chickadee considers taking food from a child's hand; an owlet worries about its first flight. She listens to the voices of snowflakes and maples. Some poems describe the forest visitor's actions: In one haiku, she plays with a rotting branch; in another, she marvels at the taste of wintergreen. Two children enjoy the surprise of a mushroom puffball. Listeners will appreciate language play like the tree frog's: "Hoping. / Hopping. / High above. / Crooning. / Plopping. / Finding love." The imagery is fresh and original; it's accessible, too. Watercolor images of each poem's subject add to the appeal. Some are vignettes, others show a child or a family enjoying the out-of-doors. Although the same young girl appears in these pictures, her clothing and apparent age vary, implying a series of encounters over many years. Readers, too, may want to return to these explorations over and over. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618843497
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/26/2013
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
248,399
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Moving gracefully through the seasons, newcomer VanDerwater shares a girl's experience of what the forest has to offer."
Publishers Weekly

"The imagery is fresh and original; it's accessible, too. Watercolor images of each poem's subject add to the appeal."
Kirkus

Meet the Author

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is a poet whose work has appeared in several magazines and children. Forest Has a Song is her first book. A writing teacher and journalist as well as a poet, Amy has a master of arts in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught fifth grade and directed a summer writing program for many years. She currently works in schools throughout the United States, teaching teachers about writing workshops, studying literature, and conferring with students. She lives on a farm in Holland, New York, with her husband, their three children, lots of animals, and plenty of books.

Robbin Gourley is an artist and art director as well as an author and illustrator of cookbooks and picture books. She divides her time between rural Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, New York.

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Forest Has a Song: Poems 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This_Kid_Reviews_Books More than 1 year ago
Taken from the inside jacket “Take a walk in the forest. Have a chat with a chickadee, watch the fiddleheads unfurl, discover a fossil, hear what a young owl tells its mother before its first flight." Why I liked this book –This is an awesome book! I love the art and the poems! This is indeed a “perfect picture book”! The message is great (and important) because it talks about getting kids out and enjoying nature, and really paying attention to it. I like that it is told from the girl character’s point of view. I like that the dog is practically always with the girl and that the girl is anonymous. This is a wonderful book. I think that kids and parents will like love this book! **NOTE I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.