I couldn’t talk about nature poetry without mentioning one of my favorite picture book finds from the last year.
“Hidden City” hits on a topic I have found endlessly fascinating since I live in Alaska. I live in one of the biggest cities of the state right now, but that doesn’t mean I miss wildlife. I have Stellar jays, waxwings, black-capped chickadees, and nuthatches flying all around my porch right next to a very busy road. I’ve seen red foxes behind a gas station, feasting on thrown out hotdogs. I’ve caught glimpses of many a moose tramping around town over the years (not a critter I saw growing up in the Southeast of the state).
A city (in Alaska especially) is NOT exempt from seeing a multitude of wildlife. Yes, we humans can encroach on their homes and if we’re not careful, seriously damage (if not wipe out) those populations. But in Alaska, we have several areas that are protected for wildlife and we treasure that. I relish seeing the Canadian geese every fall on their way south and every spring as they return, heralding the seasons (until their poop overwhelms all the walkways that is). I love how wild my state is and will remain. I love animals and the ways they continue to surround us.
That’s why this particular collection of picture book poems made my heart sing. I slowly read every single page, adoring every picture and word within. I struggled to pick only one poem from this collection to share (typical problem for me) as I loved the entire book! BUT the poem I did pick was one, not about animals, but about a very common flower (some say weed) that my students love to gift me with towards the end of every school year. I just LOVED how the illustrator chose to portray it, along with the magic of the words “toothed leaves.” Wonderful!