Review of Welcome to the Wonder House

Welcome to the Wonder HouseWelcome to the Wonder House
by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard; illus. by Deborah Freedman
Primary, Intermediate    Wordsong/Astra    40 pp.
7/23    9781635927627    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781635928631    $11.99

Twenty-nine poems in a lovely mix of forms and styles populate this book, presented as a “house” with twelve double-page-spread “rooms.” Each room has a slightly different focus on the function of wonder in exploring the natural world. In “Room of Curiosity,” two poems invite readers to question, think, and imagine as they observe their surroundings and investigate the world around them. “Room of Science” considers the work of different disciplines: e.g., “In a lab, a physicist creates soap bubbles, / wobbling gifts of air wrapped in slippery skin / that POP in an instant.” The topics are abstract (time, imagination, quiet), but the poems guide readers through specific moments and questions, including wondering about a pebble’s history and speculating about dinosaurs’ last day on Earth. Freedman’s intriguing mixed-media illustrations use wide washes of color in shades of blue, green, gold, or purple with subtle hints to the objects referenced in the poems. In the final “Note About Wonder,” the poets encourage questioning and creativity and challenge young readers to express themselves through writing, painting, building, and more.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sylvia Vardell

Sylvia Vardell is a professor in the School of Library & Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University and author of Children’s Literature in Action, Poetry Aloud Here, A World Full of Poems and the Poetry for Children blog.

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