A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Lynn Hall (Barry the Bravest Saint Bernard) and Bert Kitchen (Whoo Goes There?).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989), Remember the Alamo!, and Evaline Ness (1911-1986), Sams, Bangs, and Moonshine.
- Best birthday wishes to the Library of Congress, established by John Adams in 1800. Read American Treasures in the Library of Congress: Memory, Reason, Imagination by Margaret E. Wagner and Presidents: A Library of Congress Book by Martin W. Sandler.
- Okay dog owners, itâ€™s the beginning of National Scoop the Poop Week. Enough said.
In April weâ€™ve been celebrating Poetry Month. I actually wish every day were Poetry Day for children and that a poems were part of their daily literary diet.
In the last couple of years, single poetry volumes for children ages two through eightâ€”the work of Joyce Sidman and books like Marilyn Singerâ€™s Mirror Mirrorâ€”have increased. In 2012 Helen Frost added her own offering for this age group with a new picture book, Step Gently Out, with art by Rick Lieder. A bumblebee flies across rainbow-colored endpapers, welcoming readers into the subject matter of the book: insects engaged in their daily activities. The text begins: Step gently out, / be still, and watch / a single blade of grass. / An ant climbs up to look around. / A honeybee flies past.
Crickets, moths, spiders, and a praying mantis all strut across the stage; the day turns to night. In the morning the spiderweb is â€śsplashed with morning dew.â€ť In a text barely more than a hundred words, Helen Frost captures the magic and excitement of the insect world. Then, at the end of the book, the featured creature gets a photograph and a paragraph of information that tells about the insect and how to find it or behave around it. The common yellow jacket can sting so â€śdonâ€™t get too close.â€ť The subjects of the poem feature delicious namesâ€”orb-weaver spider, ebony jewelwing damselfly, Big Dipper firefly.
Rick Lieder creates brilliant photographic compositions that match the text and make insect identification easy for even the youngest viewers. The images are breathtaking. When introduced to children, the book elicits cries of â€śthis is so beautiful.â€ť And it isâ€”both in text and art.
Step Gently Out not only fosters a love of poetry but also of the creatures it describes. It shows passage of time and the behavior of some of our most populous occupants of the planet. It can be used to celebrate National Poetry Month or on any day of the year. It is one of those rare picture books where the text, art, and design merge seamlessly together to create a spectacular book.
Hereâ€™s a page from Step Gently Out:
Originally posted April 24, 2012. Updated for .