Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night
by Joyce Sidman

Price at time of review: $16.99
32 pp.
Houghton Mifflin Company
New York, NY
ISBN: 9780547152288

Grade Level: K-3

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

Lyric poems and exquisite drawings will lure students to the magic of the night. Owls, mushrooms, and porcupettes haunt the pages of this big, beautiful book. At the far right of each double-page spread is a column of accurate scientific information for the teacher, mentor, or imaginative reader who wants to go further.

The baby porcupette pirouettes to avoid danger. Mushrooms unbutton the forest floor. The primrose moth writes a love poem to its favorite nectar. The oak stretches its roots into the hill as it drinks its fill. And the Dark Emperor—the owl of hooked face and hungry eye—causes a tiny hiccup in the heart of the fleeing mouse and the avid listener.

This is the ideal book to use to engage students and fascinate them before lessons on adaptations, life cycles, habitats, or niches. The way that mother porcupine protects her young might start an entire lesson. Students will never look at a tree the same way again after listening to the poetry of its nighttime metabolism. The potential of this scientific and sensory book to fascinate children of diverse learning styles is just one of the reasons it has been named an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2011.

Review posted on 12/1/2010

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