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.
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Dawn St Amand Paoletta says
I am so looking forward to walking my dog where I live along the coast but with the blooms that will start to bud with life! I snap many pictures of the process from bud to bloom! Looks wonderful. Would love to read and share with my Girl.
I am looking forward to long, lovely walks in the foothills which are an escape for me.
Sounds like a lovely book to share!
I am looking forward to longer days of sun, hikes in the mountains, and breakfast on the patio.
Walking with my grandson in the park would be special since he will be a year and would enjoy the locale.
being with my daughter in the park since she loves the swings and can now walk.
Sitting in the backyard, walking with friends and enjoying the outdoors.
Brandi N. says
I am so looking forward to our family backpacking and camping trips! This book sounds absolutely dreamy, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!
Cathy Mealey says
It may sound a bit silly, but I love turning over the dry, leafy surface on the compost pile and digging deep down into the rich, earthy-scented soil. I know that mixing this “Nature’s Gold” into my flower beds will entice my plants to grow stronger and faster and bring beautiful blooms for us all to enjoy!
I’m looking forward to a hike across the Hudson on a footbridge just below Poughkeepsie. I just love spending more tim outside in parks and hiking.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater says
Thank you so much for this very generous review of our new book! Robbin and I were thrilled to read your words, and you perfectly described my wish in writing these poems, that children will feel that wonder at our beautiful world – outside! As for chickadees, if they live near you….you can train them to eat out of your hand, and it is magical! See here for how – http://www.birdwatching.com/stories/handfeeding.html
Wow, I’m thrilled that you took the time to read the review and comment, Amy. Just today, I read the first few poems of the book with some of my preschool students. It was a bit of a stretch for some of them, but they were definitely able to understand the feelings and emotions behind the words. And I talked to them about how I love watching the little birds come to the feeders around our school! Thanks so much for your comment, and I wish you much success with this delightful book.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater says
Bird feeders around a school are one of the most wonderful things ever! Lately I’m really recommending THE PRIVATE EYE (check it out online) book and method of teaching even our youngest children how to look closely, studying the world through jewelers loupes. They have a great little book for preK and K students – such fun! Thank you again. a.
Nancy Norwood` says
I am looking forward to visiting a local farm/county park to walk the trails and visit the animals. I love watching all the spring lambs and goats in the fields and the piglets in the barn.
I’m looking forward to adding some formal nature study back into our homeschool! I love sharing poetry with my children, too, so I’m sure we’d appreciate this book.
Staci A says
I look forward to exploring the outdoors with my one year old and seeing his reaction to all the new things out there.
Jessica T says
I look forward to magnolia trees blooming!
I’m really looking forward to my spring gardening, and watching all the trees and flowers bud!
going to the park and on hikes
Holly C says
This sounds like a great book to share with my girls.
To be able to go out side and take long walks again.