Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems
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Annotation: Presents a collection of short poems about each season written to demonstrate how a few carefully chosen words and images can invoke powerful messages.
Catalog Number: #156292
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Sweet, Melissa,
Pages: 47 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-9971-3 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-0602-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-9971-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-0602-5
Dewey: 811.008
LCCN: 2013943087
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Sweet's child-friendly mixed-media illustrations--loosely rendered, collage-like assemblages in seasonal palettes--enhance the thirty-six excellent poems showcased on the book's ample spreads. As brief as three lines or a dozen words, most of the verses are by familiar poets (Carl Sandburg, Langston Hughes), including those known for their childrens verse (Alice Schertle, Charlotte Zolotow). A fine addition to the seasonal poetry shelf.
Kirkus Reviews
Choosing from works spanning three centuries, Janeczko artfully arranges 36 elegant poems among the four seasons. With each poem's relationship to its season often subtle or tangential, Janeczko avoids the trite repetition flawing some seasonal poetry collections. The initial poem, by Cid Corman for "Spring," lauds a dawn scene: "Daybreak reminds us— / the hills have arrived just in / time to celebrate." Emily Dickinson's poem shimmers in the "Summer" section: "The Moon was but a Chin of Gold / A Night or two ago —/ And now she turns Her perfect Face / Upon the World below…." (The moon's presence shines throughout, in eight poems.) Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, whose published 2003 collaboration is represented by two poems, offer this autumnal musing: "What is it the wind has lost / that she keeps looking for / under each leaf?" The winter poems are snowy, but they are also laced with fog; nature scenes alternate with depictions of a subway, a rusting truck, harbor boats and more. Sweet's effervescent mixed-media collages include signature elements like graph paper and saturated pinks; the large format engenders some expansive compositions, such as one showing the curve of the Earth near an enormous, smiling full moon. Inventive details abound, too: The last spread shows a child asleep under a crazy quilt that incorporates motifs from all four seasons—a perfect visual ending. Scintillating! (permissions, acknowledgments) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)
Publishers Weekly
Never more than six or seven lines long-and some are just a few words-each poem in Janeczko-s (A Foot in the Mouth) spirited anthology celebrates an aspect of the seasons. Evocative and accessible, they make excellent prompts for classroom poetry exercises. -What is it the wind has lost,- ask poets Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, -that she keeps looking for/ under each leaf?- Sweet-s (Little Red Writing) artwork is marvelously varied. In some spreads, the animals and people are drafted in thoughtful detail, while in others her line is loopy and spontaneous. Dragonflies and crickets blink with flirtatious cartoon-character eyes in one scene, while fireflies and their haunting light are painted with meditative calm in another. Beach towels are striped in hot colors; fog in a city is rice paper glued over a collage of tall buildings. William Carlos Williams-s red wheelbarrow and Carl Sandburg-s little cat feet appear along with lesser-known works. Even Langston Hughes-s poem about a crowded subway sounds a note of hope: -Mingled/ breath and smell/ so close/ mingled/ black and white/ so near/ no room for fear.- Ages 6-9. (Mar.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 4 Organized by the seasons, beginning with spring, this collection of 36 impeccably chosen short poems demonstrates that significant emotional power can reside in just a few lines. In obvious contrast with such small bites of poetry, the large-format design explodes with bright and expressive watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media collages. Colors and shapes with willowy details expertly blur or bring bits of the images into focus to create a magical sense of place, time, and beauty. The poems range from work by William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, and Langston Hughes to that of James Stevenson, Joyce Sidman, and Ralph Fletcher. The first verse opens the book with daybreak, and after exploring the whole year, the final selection sends readers off to sleep: "A welcome mat of moonlight/on the floor. Wipe your feet/before getting into bed" (Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser). Every poem evokes a moment, and, combined with its corresponding full-bleed illustration, the season is captured for readers to remember, experience, or anticipate. Any collection will be brighter with the inclusion of this treasure.&12; Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Choosing from works spanning three centuries, Janeczko artfully arranges 36 elegant poems among the four seasons. With each poem's relationship to its season often subtle or tangential, Janeczko avoids the trite repetition flawing some seasonal poetry collections. The initial poem, by Cid Corman for "Spring," lauds a dawn scene: "Daybreak reminds us— / the hills have arrived just in / time to celebrate." Emily Dickinson's poem shimmers in the "Summer" section: "The Moon was but a Chin of Gold / A Night or two ago —/ And now she turns Her perfect Face / Upon the World below…." (The moon's presence shines throughout, in eight poems.) Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, whose published 2003 collaboration is represented by two poems, offer this autumnal musing: "What is it the wind has lost / that she keeps looking for / under each leaf?" The winter poems are snowy, but they are also laced with fog; nature scenes alternate with depictions of a subway, a rusting truck, harbor boats and more. Sweet's effervescent mixed-media collages include signature elements like graph paper and saturated pinks; the large format engenders some expansive compositions, such as one showing the curve of the Earth near an enormous, smiling full moon. Inventive details abound, too: The last spread shows a child asleep under a crazy quilt that incorporates motifs from all four seasons—a perfect visual ending. Scintillating! (permissions, acknowledgments) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Celebrated poet and anthologist Janeczko has collected 36 very short poems (none is longer than 10 lines) about the seasons. The selections are by both children's poets (Charlotte Zolotow, April Halprin Wayland, J. Patrick Lewis, Eve Merriam, and more) and adult poets (Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Ted Kooser, William Carlos Williams). In their brevity, the poems remind us that less can often be more and that there is art in economy. Every reader listener ll have his or her favorite poem, but some that are outstanding include Gerald Jonas' "In Passing," Joyce Sidman's "A Happy Meeting," J. Patrick Lewis' "Firefly July," April Halprin Wayland's "Sandpipers," and Ted Kooser's "Snow Fence." Only a few of the poems are universally familiar: William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow," Carl Sandburg's "Fog," and guably bert Frost's "Dust of Snow." For young children, most of the others will be agreeable surprises, and each entry offers a happy encounter with words put beautifully together. Caldecott Honor Book artist Sweet's pictures are, in a word, gorgeous. Executed in watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media, they capture and expand the spirit and sensibility of the verses they illustrate to wonderful effect. The harmonious cooperation of words and images provides a memorable reading experience for each season and for the whole year round.
Word Count: 833
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 165330 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q63174
Lexile: NP

“Sweet’s pictures are, in a word, gorgeous. . . . They capture and expand the spirit and sensibility of the verses they illustrate to wonderful effect.” — Booklist (starred review)

It only takes a few words, if they’re the right words, to create a strong image. Whether listened to in the comfort of a cozy lap or read independently, the thirty-six very short poems in this collection remind readers young and old that a few perfect words and pictures can make the world glow. Selected by acclaimed poet Paul B. Janeczko and gorgeously illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet, this anthology invites children to sample poems throughout the four seasons.


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