Science Books & Film
Two Stars (Highly Recommended)
Difficulty Level: Elementary, grades 1-4
Through rhythmical verse couched in musical terms and colorful luminous watercolor paintings, this book takes young readers through a day in a marsh from dawn to dark. As the day advances, the reader meets a changing cast of birds at home in the wetlands. The marsh is a composite, with elements lifted from eastern, prairie, southern, and northern wetlands. Thus, there appear red-winged blackbirds, sandhill cranes, white ibis, and a loon, among other birds. The complementary text and illustrations deftly capture the voices and behaviors of 15 birds. Young readers will enjoy the versified text and illustrations. For them, the book will be a fascinating introduction to musical concepts and marshlands, so often viewed as wastelands to be drained.
Marsh Morning is an excellent read-aloud book. The reader must linger on each double -spread set of pages in order to allow the listener to absorb the engaging paintings that capture the changing mood of the marsh throughout the day. The book has a glossary of musical terms introduced in the text, short biographical sketches of the 15 marsh birds presented in the volume, and a short bibliography of books on birds. Robert Leo Smith, emeritus, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.
Wake to morning in the marsh, where the frogs in Berkes' Marsh Music are now quiet and the heron has swallowed his first bite of the day. Listen; a new chorus begins. The first song is the blackbird's, then the woodpecker's. Berkes combines nature and music as she takes young readers on a delightful tour of the daytime sights and sounds of the marsh. Ragtime, bebop, and more are the order of the day. The rhythmic text, with its "oon-KA-chunk," "coo-ah, coo, coo," and "twit, twit, twit" brings the marsh alive. The reader is led full circle; as the birds become silent, the frog is back, ready to begin the night chorus. Noreiko's watercolors of the marsh's birds, plants, and animals are beautifully detailed, capturing the rhythm and flow of the day. A glossary of musical terms, brief paragraphs describing each of the birds, and a selected bibliography complete this fine book. It is sure to be well loved by children and adults alike. 2003, Millbrook Press,
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Morning comes to the marsh with wildlife awakening amid watercolor mist and movement in grays, browns, greens, and black, re-creating this unique ecosystem. Rabbit stands in mid motion, heron is knee-deep in water, and red-winged blackbird "starts his melody." Four lines of rhyme introduce the language of sparrow and wren's vocalization, and crane and woodpecker's syncopation, in a chorus or solo of movement and song. This title is a perfect companion to the author's Marsh Music (Millbrook, 2000), which beautifully graces many picture-book collections, but be warned that Marsh Morning is not, as the CIP designates it, nonfiction. Sylvia Johnson's Songbirds: The Language of Song (Carolrhoda, 2001) could fill that need. A glossary of musical terms with pronunciation guides and a list of the birds in order of appearance, including physical and vocal descriptions, end a delightful offering. This title will engage children as they enjoy the day that comes to an end with a night melody, a "-laughing loon./Ha-oo-oo he sings as he takes flight. Where is the music of the night?" Excellent.-Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.