A Mirror to Nature: Poems About Reflection by Jane Yolen


Illus: Jason Stemple
Boyds Mills2009
ISBN: 978-1-59078-624-6
Format: PictureBook NonFiction
Rating: average
Grade: 3 – 6
Genre: Poetry
Twelve poems about reflection by Jane Yolen are illustrated with photographs taken by her son, Jason Stemple. An introduction note from the author encourages readers to use reflection to “think about things in a new way, see it fresh.” The photos show animals, such as a wolf, alligator, and snail with their reflections in bodies of water. Each photo has a short caption, often containing an environmental message about the animal. For instance, one note tells readers that the wood stork is on the endangered species list. The poem suggests that the storks double their population by counting their reflections. Each full-page photo faces a page containing the poem about the animal. Some poems might miss their intended audience. For instance, “A deer that stays/ too long/ reflecting/ is a deer called/ meat.” Although there are some children who would find this hilarious, it could also be a little scary for younger readers. Likewise, a note about raccoons warns that though they look adorable, “They can bite and often carry all kinds of diseases, including rabies.” Inlusion of this forced rhyme, “As if he thinks heâ s on a log,/ This perplexing little frog/ Has popped up on a thrown out bottle./ What does this mean? Perhaps a lotle.” would limit the number of collections that would find it useful as a demonstration of good poetry.
Reviewer: Mary Melaugh
LibraryCity: Marshall Middle / Billerica, MA
Reviewdate: 7/15/09

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About Sharon Colvin

Sharon Colvin is past chair of the Youth Services Section of MLA and a Youth Librarian in Chelmsford, MA.
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