Jun 25, 2011

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Rick Allen

     Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night is a gorgeous book of poems around the theme of nighttime  and its inhabitants.  There are poems about bats, owls, spiders, slugs, mushrooms and even the moon. Each one deserves to be read slowly, savoring each verse and listening to its cadence.  Each poem stands alone perfectly but as a collection, it is a marvel.
     As a teacher, this is an amazing source of lyrical examples.  There are poems that exemplify repetition like Moon's Lament, personification like Oak After Dark, and even a shape poem like Dark Emperor whose verses make the outline of a horned owl.  There are too many verses I would like to copy here for you to read...From Dark Emperor:
     O Dark Emperor
of hooked face and 
hungry eye: turn that
awful beak away
from me;
the tiny hiccup 
of my heart 
as I flee.

Or from Night-Spider's Advice:

Use what you have.
Rest when you need to.
Dawn will come soon enough.
Someone as to remake
the world each night.
It might as well be you.

     The illustrations by Rick Allen truly complement the feeling of being immersed in nighttime.  
     There is a poem per page with its accompanying illustration and, as an added bonus, there is a side "mini-lesson" on the topic of each poem.  This provides a great nonfiction link to share with the kids, and for teachers it allows a great opportunity to bring literature and poetry into the science classroom. 

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