Melissa Mcavoy's Reviews > Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman
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's review
Dec 05, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: children-s-books, picture, newbery
Read in December, 2010

Beautiful woodcuts. Engaging prose. A great book for kids age 4-10. I think this will be one they remember and that shifts their understanding. The over arching theme is the nocturnal woods and a selection of its creatures. Very successful in raising interest and elevating appreciation of the benign, fascinating and beautiful things that go on in the woods at night. Might help with kids wary of the dark.

I'd give this a 4 1/2 stars. What keeps it from a 5 is relatively minor. I wish there were a smidge more science. I'd have loved captions or endnotes that gave geographic range for the subjects of the poems and illustrations.

The author is from Minnesota and this is her exploration. I wanted an explicit acknowledgment that local geography would determine which elements included in the book kids could expect to find in their own woods, and delineation of the certain fact that there would be additional cool things local to their region.

My other quibble is that the title page misses an opportunity. The woodcuts are so rich and strong. The title page places a palid moon on a white background and clutters the page with text in various colors, sizes and typefaces. Nothing about the design of this first page creates a mood or hints at the beauty and strength of the subsequent images.

I have bought this book for myself and will give it as a gift.

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