Here we are at the last day of April already. But don’t worry, dear reader! I saved one of the best poetry picture books for last.
DEAR TREEFROG is perhaps one of my favorite poetry picture book finds this year. I was surprised how many favorites I have found this year and plan to purchase for my own (THE LAST STRAW; TIGER, TIGER, BURNING BRIGHT!; THE WISDOM OF TREES; & DEAR TREEFROG). But this book I bought instantly.
You see, I’m a free verse poet and often I feel like I can’t find my place in the poetry picture book market because I CAN NOT rhyme to save my life! But then I see a brilliant book like this written by Joyce Sidman (one of my favorite poets) and I’m given hope again.
This book is brilliant. Not only is it all about treefrogs (nonfiction facts for the win!), but it’s a STORY. There is a little girl who has just moved to a new home. Readers come to learn that she feels lonely and a bit afraid (from the beautiful free verse poetry AND the gorgeously verdant illustrations) until she finds a treefrog in her backyard. Each poem is her voice talking to the tree frog and we see her grow and learn and blossom through her love of that treefrog. What a fantastic premise and what a glorious delivery!
But don’t let me miss the other half of the equation here! The illustrations by Diana Sudyka are so unique! While they are said to be gouache watercolor on paper (in the copyright), that fails to really describe their glory. Green blossoms in many shades all throughout the book. Plants are detailed and labeled (adding to the nonfiction matter). Each page seems deceptively simple yet lush. Some of the pages are even a bit abstract (which usually isn’t my cup of tea, but they totally work here).
I have poured over this book numerous times and each reading I get something different out of it. This is a book that needs to be devoured in minutes, reread, and studied. This book is remarkable and you simply must track it down to read because I can only share ONE page! I chose one of my favorite moments and scenes in the book.
I just love those last few lines. I hope you find yourself breaking out into the sunshine, dear reader.
And if you’re looking for more poetry fun this month, be sure to check out the Kidlitosphere Event Roundup!