A Poem is a Firefly – written by Charles Ghigna, illustrated by Michelle Hazelwood Hyde, Schiffer Kids, an imprint of Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 9780764361081, 2021
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Woodland animals of all sizes each have their own response for the question a small bear asks: “What is a poem?” The rhyming stanzas and gentle illustrations answer this simple query in multiple ways by filling each page with a metaphor featuring actions, emotions, objects, or a combination to show that a poem can be many things and different to each reader.
Ghigna’s text has a strong rhythm that flows easily. Each line seems to be carefully selected and placed to demonstrate the dichotomy of poetry in a way understandable for young children. The words are larger than average (about 1/2 an inch in height), making the text stand out.
Hyde’s paired illustrations are done in a combination of bright colors for the background and realistic earth tones for the animals. The creatures are depicted in an exaggerated manner, akin to a stuffed animal with friendly features, which will surely win over little listeners. As the young bear travels through the woods to meet with a spider, an owl, a deer, and more, readers are treated to a variety of scenes until the sun sets, the moon rises, and a lone firefly appears for the last line of the book.
This is a gentle read that is perfect for winding down at bedtime, but also ideal for introducing abstract concepts. Kids can be encouraged to form their own thoughts regarding how the book, a poem itself, makes them feel and may enjoy revisiting this over and over again.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommended for one-on-one reading with ages 2 – 6. Educators may want to use this with older students (gr. 1 – 3) for poetry lessons.
Who should buy this book? An additional purchase for libraries building up gentle reads in their picture book collections.
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: May 18, 2021