Archive for December 22, 2011


swirl by swirl

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes

Two incredible talents worked together to bring us one of the most stunningly lovely books of the year.  It explores the different ways that spirals and swirls appear in nature.  There are the animals curled up for the winter underground, shells, unfurling ferns, hedgehogs, octopus tentacles, whirlpools and tornadoes.  This book is a masterpiece of simplicity and complexity, just like the swirls that it speaks about.

With verse by Joyce Sidman, winner of a Newbery Honor and illustrations by Caldecott winner Beth Krommes, this book is immediately something special.  The two have brought readers a poem spiraled inside intensely lovely images.  One gets the sense of unwinding a spiral when reading the verse, as it loops and dances.  The illustrations too are filled with a movement that is natural and free.

There is a simplicity about the verse that is misleading.  Sidman’s verse is tight and well crafted, showing a restraint and skill.  Krommes’ illustrations on the other hand are filled with details, lines of motion, and jewel tones.  Astonishingly lovely, the illustrations have a fully dimensional feel to them and celebrate the swirl and spiral to great effect.

Highly recommended, this book successfully celebrates shape, design, science and nature in a single beautiful work.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Check out the book trailer to see the illustrations for yourself:

Also reviewed by:

red sled

Red Sled by Lita Judge

This almost wordless book sparkles with the joy of sledding.  A little child leaves their sled leaning up outside their house.  When night falls, a bear walks by and spots the red sled.  With a “scrunch scrinch scrunch scrinch” he walks away with the sled under his arm.  Then he and a rabbit ride the sled down the hill, hooting with glee.  They head down the hill in different positions and then are by a moose, and eventually raccoons, an opossum, a porcupine and a mouse.  When morning light starts to show, the bear returns the sled with a “scrunch scrinch scrunch scrinch.”  The little child notices the paw prints around the sled, and the ending will have everyone smiling.

Judge’s art here is playful and filled with antics of the animals.  There is a sense of joy and humor throughout the book, something akin to sledding itself.  The art is whimsical and charming, the snowy ground illuminating the night.  The emotions on the faces of the characters carry a lot of the humor as do the physical stunts on the sled.

A super pick for winter sharing, this is sure to warm up any cold winter night.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by:

Check out the book trailer too:

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