20 Following


Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards)) - Joyce Sidman, Rick Allen These topical nature poems are accompanied by informational text on the opposite page. The design makes this parallel text not distracting. Rick Allen's lino-cut illustrations are remarkable, mostly because of the description of his three-block process. This is painstaking work. I appreciate all the work of Sidman's to make this many poems just right, too. This is one of the situations where I can see 50/50 being a fair deal.

The poems have a clear sense of each night animal having been observed closely to see what there is to notice. I thought "Dark Emperor" was a bit of an exaggeration, because of how much that phrase makes one think of fantasy or science fiction villains. But the poem was still well done and matched well with the illustration.

While I generally think it's a bad idea to illustrate a poem collection, Sidman seems to have a good way of collaborating with illustrators and she is writing expressly to be illustrated. It's not like taking Emily Dickinson or Edna St. Vincent Millay and trying to improve their poems with pictures.