Saturday, March 8, 2008

Poetry for Children: Sky Words

Singer, Marilyn. 1994. Sky Words. Illus. by Deborah Kogan Ray. NY: Macmillan Publishing Compnay. ISBN: 002782882.

In Sky Words, it is through Singer’s remarkable use of words that each poem paints a visual picture and strong emotions of adventure of skywriting, fear when a tornado roars through the landscape, intrigue during a Monarch butterfly migration, and a haunting sensation of being out at twilight. Written in various rhyming and free verse forms, the poems are easy yet captivating to read due to the rhythms that are set by word play that nearly sing off the tongue. Perfectly complementing the fifteen poems about skies from various seasons are Deborah Kogan Ray’s soft illustrations rendered in watercolors and color pencils and come in various cool, warm and vivid colorings. Through the both the textual imagery and the corresponding artwork, the readers are drawn into each of the settings and immediately wrapped into poem’s emotions. A striking example is in “Fog” where there is a sense of mistrust in the verses “No one is your friend/in the fog/ The sky is a liar/The ground is a sneak/All footsteps belong to strangers/even your own,” and where illustration presents a indistinct and blurry cityscape that would make a city dweller question each sound and movement. This is an excellent selection for powerfully affective use of poetry and imagery of skies during the dynamic seasons year round.

CONNECTIONS *Read Jane Yolen’s book about more natural scenery: Horizons: Poems As Far As the Eye Can See.

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