Review of Among a Thousand Fireflies

frost_among a thousand firefliesAmong a Thousand Fireflies
by Helen Frost; photos by Rick Lieder
Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.
3/16    978-0-7636-7642-1    $15.99    g

Frost and Lieder (Step Gently Out; Sweep Up the Sun) collaborate on a third picture book featuring a poem by Frost illustrated with Lieder’s luminous photographs, this time on the subject 
of fireflies. Frost’s short lines tell the story of a female firefly looking for her mate amongst “Countless bright / flashes. / How will she find / one firefly / among so many?” Lieder achieves a surprising variety in his photos, sometimes making flowers look as large as trees and other times catching the exact moment when a firefly lights up a yellow flower, setting it aglow. The twilight colors of deep blue and purple combine with the green of the leaves and make the intense yellow of the firefly’s light shine dramatically. The book design adds to the story too, for example with the positioning of pictures showing the alternating “Light. / Dark. / Light. / Dark” that the female seeks, with the words alternating position above and below a set of four photographs. A closing note explains additional interesting facts — fireflies are not flies but beetles; different types of fireflies have unique patterns of flashes. The blend of science, gentle poetry, and spectacular photography will make children long for a warm summer night perfect for firefly gazing.

From the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Susan Dove Lempke
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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