firefly july

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

There are just over thirty poems in this collection and as promised in the title, all of them are very short.  These short poems though each have power and perfection in just a few words, offering insight into the way that language can be edited and played with to make it speak much more than the few words on the page.  Readers will find poems that are well-known mixed with others that are delightful new surprises.  Through it all, there is a feeling of joy that comes from the page and from the words as well as a pleasure of traveling the seasons through poetry.

Thanks to the brevity of all of these poems, this is a very child-friendly book to introduce children to poetry.  Their condensed format also gives them a lot of power and bang per word, which makes them easy to discuss with children.  Readers will also want to try their hands at creating short poems and are sure to quickly realize that while they read easily, they are very difficult to create.  That makes this book all the more impressive with its high level of quality of poem and a perfect level of accessibility for youth.

Sweet’s illustrations frame the poems into one cohesive unit.  They celebrate the small things, like these poems and their themes, looking at leaves, butterflies, fog and lots of other bits of nature.  Her work is playful and yet not too light, bringing depth into each image.

A beautiful collection of short poems, this belongs in every library and would make a perfect way to start every day with a poem.  Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Reviewed from library copy.