cover image A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals

A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals

Kate Hosford, illus. by Jennifer M. Potter. Running Press Kids, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-762467-14-3

In this magnetic, informative collection, playful poems explore the surprisingly varied sleeping patterns of 18 different animals. Each selection offers intimate, focused glimpses into the slumbers of crepuscular, cathemeral, diurnal, and nocturnal creatures while explaining concepts such as REM sleep, hibernation, and unihemispheric sleep. Zebra finches, for instance, spend their REM sleep perfecting their song: “Other birds may dream of worms/ Or flower beds or thunderstorms/ But every night this bird performs/ A concert in his mind.” Spreads also feature an additional paragraph that expands upon each poem with information about each creature. In both poetry and graceful prose, Hosford (Mama’s Belly) has a knack for translating scientific research into mesmerizing language for a range of ages. Potter contributes smoothly textured, dusky-hued illustrations, which delicately visualize the slumbering beasts, from a pod of sperm whales bobbing under a blanket of blue ocean, to crimson queen fire ants asleep in a pile as minuscule workers scurry around them. The work as a whole makes a unique, engaging readaloud from start to finish, and children may well pull it from the shelves again and again to revisit favorite excerpts. Ages 5–8. (Nov.)