There’s such value in learning to appreciate the wonders of nature. Children are usually pretty open to this, frequently moved by an innate sense of inquiry and observation. I love when literature supports this development, so you can imagine that I was quite excited to take a look at Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s new book of poetry, Forest Has a Song.
This collection of twenty-six poems opens as winter is coming to the forest. The first poem, “Invitation,” beckons a girl and her dog to enter and visit. As the book progresses, so do the seasons of the year, and the writing and vibrant watercolor illustrations by Robbin Gourley perfectly reflect the tone of the season or experiences that a child would enjoy in that time. Throughout the poems, readers discover the beauty of the forest environment, encounter a variety of creatures who reside there, and find motivation to seek out similar experiences on their own. Several pieces push readers to imagine the perspectives of these creatures, looking at the forest through a new set of eyes.
One poem that my children and I particularly enjoyed is “Chickadee,” especially because we’ve begun to see these adorable small birds getting active around us as spring slowly makes its way to our area. In this poem, the girl calls to a chickadee to come enjoy the seeds she is holding, and readers get to hear just what the chickadee himself might be thinking. Oh, how my children wish they could get a close-up look at the birds they enjoy watching in the trees around our house!
As the book comes to a close, the girl and dog are departing the forest, where winter has once again returned, and the final poem, “Farewell,” encourages them to remember the forest’s existence. Though the significance and consequence of that message may not be fully understood by young readers, hopefully the idea that the forest, and nature itself, are full of wonder will remain with them. I adore everything about this lovely collection of poetry for children that emphasizes the value of our natural environment through beautiful imagery and words. As we look forward to April’s National Poetry Month, I encourage all parents to share in the delight of poetry with their children today!
Take a sneak peek at Forest Has a Song in the book trailer:
We’re happy to have a copy of Forest Has a Song for today’s giveaway, open to US residents only. Please leave a comment here sharing the outdoor experiences you’re looking forward to this spring. We’ll announce the winner in our book review giveaway column on April 10.
This giveaway is now closed.
- The winner of Perfect Red is #9 Katie.
- The winners of When She Was Gone are #6 Diane and #8 Linda Kish.