Welcome to Field Village

field sing a long Welcome to Field VillageA Field Sing-A-Long (Dowa-ya) is a collection of short free-verse poems translated by William I. Elliott and Nishihara Katsumasa from Naoko Kudō’s Japanese originals.

Naoko’s poems are set in a natural community called “Field Village.” Various creatures or elements of the habitat—personified with human names such as “Yoshio Rivercrab” and “Futago Rabbit”—act as “poets,” offering their unique perspectives. The hundred-plus poems are accompanied by simple, cartoon-like illustrations and are organized into sections, though none of the sections has a title or obvious theme.

The identity of each narrator gives context to the poems’ evocative nature imagery, as in “A Smiling Face” by Shizuko Pond:

When something delightful happens
a ripple spreads
across the surface of my heart.

A ripple
is my smiling face.

Some of the poems are light and fun; others are silly. Some offer a reflective, almost innocent insight, like “Heart,” by Kenkichi Puppy:

When in sorrow, I’m all drag-tailed.
When joyful, I let it flutter light as a feather.
My heart’s in my tail.

Hayato Brook’s “To the Sea” is sweet and simple:

Some day,
for sure,
I’ll tickle

Easy to read and understand, this collection is a lovely introduction to free verse.

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About Caitlyn Edson

Caitlyn Edson is an editorial intern at The Horn Book.

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