A wonderful benefit of being part of the Poetry Friday community is getting to know the work of a lot of different poets. I love this because I’ve discovered some amazing poets I might not have found otherwise. Irene Latham is one of the those poets. For the past several years, I've enjoyed reading her Live Your Poem blog, her poems in anthologies and magazines, and her first collection for children, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST. So, when I saw she had a new collection, I pre-ordered right away, and I’m so glad I did!
WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA is a gorgeous book. The 15 poems are both playful and informative taking readers on a journey from the start of summer to its end. As a teacher, I love the nonfiction information that accompanies each poem. Irene provides just enough information to tease readers into wanting to learn more. A bibliography of book and website titles on the last page make it easy for further exploration.
Wait until you see Anna Wadham’s delightful illustrations. They are gorgeous and perfectly match the poems. The details in each spread add to the fun of learning about Antarctica.
I thoroughly enjoyed all of the poems, but I must admit, I do have a favorite. It is written in the form of a personal ad. Such a clever (and romantic) idea! (I tried for over an hour to get the line spacing correct, which is supposed to be couplets, but blogger just wouldn't cooperate.)
Adélie Seeking adélie
Wanted: a guy with a white-ringed eye
who looks just like me.
An accomplished builder
who borders the nest with the best pebbles
to protect my eggs from dregs
of melting snow.
A boy with a pleasing bray
who will stay all summer.
A mate who will meet me
year after year
-Irene Latham (all rights reserved)
Wow! Don’t you just love that? Yep, I'm gushing, but this is a "gush-worthy" collection! I wanted to know more about how this poem came to be, and Irene kindly shared a bit about its background.That poem is the very first one I wrote for the collection! When I read about how carefully the female will select a male, I instantly thought of personal ads -- what would Ms. Adelie say? The publisher and I even talked about "boxing" the poem to make it look like a personal ad, but in the end, we figured kids wouldn't necessarily know that reference (who reads newspapers anymore?!). But you can see from the illustration that Anna Wadham incorporated newsprint into the art.
One interesting note: while I love the idea of Adelie's being lifelong mates, my expert reader said that it is not true of all Adelies. (Some return to the same mate, some happily pursue a new one.) Because I am a romantic, it's true of MY Adelie. And what a fun poem for upcoming Valentine's Day, right? :)
Many thanks to Irene for permission to share her lovely poem. I’m thrilled to add WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA to my poetry picture book collection, and I can't wait for Irene's next book , FRESH DELICIOUS due out in March!
A special thank you to Tabatha for hosting this week's roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.