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Review of Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up
by Sally M. Walker; illus. by William Grill
Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    48 pp.    g
2/18    978-0-7636-7512-7    $17.99

Nonfiction writer Walker (winner of the 2006 Sibert Award for Secrets of a Civil War Submarine) and illustrator Grill (winner of the 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal for Shackleton’s Journey) team up for a picture-book collection of haiku about Earth’s geological and meteorological features. It begins with the planet itself: “Third one from the sun, / Earth’s blue and white majesty / dwarfs her lunar child.” Grill shows the small, soft outline of the moon about the size of a dime with an enormous section of Earth taking up most of the double-page spread in swirling blues and whites. At the bottom corner of each illustration in the book, one of nine symbols appears — Earth, minerals, rocks, fossils, earthquakes, volcanoes, atmospheric and surface water, glaciers, and groundwater; an appended section tells more about what they mean. Walker’s haiku combine correct terminology and information with a wry, child-friendly sensibility (e.g., a volcano is a “hotheaded mountain” throwing an “igneous tantrum”). Grill’s colored-pencil pictures are informal and sketchlike in some places and more painterly in others, with soft edges and swirls of motion. They give a sense of the places and action rather than a photographic view and stick closely to a palette of blues, orange-reds, and charcoal grays. The combination of Walker’s tiny jewels of poetry and Grill’s oversize pictures will draw children into contemplating the natural wonders of the world. Includes suggestions for further reading.

From the January/February 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Susan Dove Lempke About Susan Dove Lempke

Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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