Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night

Joyce Sidman, illus. by Rick Allen, Houghton Mifflin, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-547-15228-8
"Welcome to the night!" cries the opening poem in this celebration of nocturnal life. Everything from snails to mushrooms has a role to play and something different to say (the title is taken from a concrete poem about a horned owl, narrated by its would-be prey: "Perched missile,/ almost invisible, you/ preen silent feathers,/ swivel your sleek satellite/ dish of a head"). Spiders offer advice, porcupettes pirouette, and the moon laments the dawn, all illuminated by debut talent Allen's detailed yet moody prints, which encapsulate the mysteries and magic of the midnight hours. Opposite each poem is a short note on the featured creature, explaining its appearance and habits. In Sidman's delicious poems, darkness is the norm, and there's nothing to fear but the rising sun. Ages 6–9. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/09/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
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