cover image Mojave


Diane Siebert. Crowell, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-690-04567-3

""I am the desert./ I am free./ Come walk the sweeping face of me,'' announces the narrator of this boldly painted book about the Mojave desert. Both artist and author detail the varied landscape of the grand Mohave and the creatures that live there. Mustangs, prickly cactus, ghost towns and Joshua trees are pictured within the context of changing seasons that ``rearrange the desert's timeworn face with new designs/ Of colors, shadows, shapes, and lines.'' The paintings combine panoramic vistas with detailed closeups: a violet sky at dusk contrasts with a vast field of golden wildflowers, where a single butterfly is cupped within the petal of an orange blossom. Although the author sometimes strains to maintain the couplet form and the desert's direct narration to the reader, the solemn tone of the poem evokes the majesty of the landscape. Ages 4-8. (February)