Review of Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku
by Sally M. Walker; illus. by Matthew Trueman
Primary    Candlewick    48 pp.    g
4/22    978-1-5362-0356-1    $18.99

The huge expanse of space and its mind-blowing wonders are crystalized by Walker (Earth Verse, rev. 1/18) into seventeen precise syllables making up each of thirty-two haiku. She begins with the most familiar of constellations: “three stars in a row / Orion fastens his belt / ready for the hunt.” The haiku are divided into sections such as “Constellations and Astronomers,” “The Universe Begins,” “The Sun,” and so on, with an extensive author’s note at the end using the same categories to explain more of the science behind each poem. The text blends scientific theory with a sense of awe, as in this entry in the “Stars” section: “distant candles flare / light glimmers through time and space / past becomes present.” Walker’s spare and eloquent phrases are paired with Trueman’s (If You Take Away the Otter, rev. 5/20) spectacular mixed-media illustrations, completely filling each page with swirls, dots, colors, and darkness. When portraying earthly advancements, such as the Hubble telescope, he uses a more realistic technique; when trying to convey the Big Bang (“one minuscule speck”), he shows a white dot encircled by light against shades of gray and black, and “gaudy Milky Way” appears in pastel yellows, blues, and pinks in a swirl. The blend of artistry and accurate, up-to-date scientific information (including an appended glossary, further reading section, and online resources) makes this collection a must-have.

From the May/June 2022 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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