Hello friends! Back at the blog after a little break to catch my breath from 30 Days of Diverse Picture Books. I really, really enjoyed the series and hope you did too. It was a great opportunity for me to call out some of the many fantastic diverse books that we've read over the past year. And, based on the response, I'll be back doing the series again next year!
On to tonight's pick, which is one we actually read a few weeks ago but I held onto because of the 30 Days series consuming my attention. Sprout has always been super interested in science and nature, and as he grows that interest is only deepening. He loves loves loves science-y facts - actually that's something his kindergarten teacher said during our recent conference, that he always shares facts and that she checks them later and he's always right. (Boo-yah!) So based on that, and knowing how much he'd enjoyed Swirl by Swirl, I felt pretty certain that Joyce Sidman's Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold was going to be a hit.
And naturally, it was. The poetry in Winter Bees is just lovely, simple enough for the target audience, but complex enough for adult readers to enjoy. The illustrations by Rick Allen -- rarely do words fail me, but these images left me speechless, thanks to the depth of detail, the texture, the emotion that is evoked. Sprout and I together stared at a picture of a den of hibernating garter snakes for at least five minutes -- and I'm terrified of snakes, for crying out loud! -- so that should tell you a little something about the magnificence of Allen's craftsmanship. Pair these pictures with Sidman's deft wordsmithing, and then spice them up with a juicy sidebar on each page that is loaded with scientific facts and you have a recipe for an absolute jaw-dropper of a book.
I really see Winter Bees as a great way to bridge the gap between art-lovers and science kids. This title is equal parts of each, all beautifully done, and is bound to sway skeptics on either side to find something to appreciate. Sidman and Allen received a Caldecott honor for their previous collaboration Dark Emperor, and for my money Winter Bees could easily go all the way this year.
Make Winter Bees part of your collection at home, school or library - it's a purchase well-served, for you and the kiddos!
Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman