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Sweep Up the Sun

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Illuminated by exquisite photographs of eleven species of birds, a spare and elegant poem inspires readers to open their wings and soar.

Baby robins, open-beaked in their nest. Mallards winging to a new clime. Whether chickadees or cardinals, sparrows or starlings, here are commonly seen birds in their natural settings, captured in photographs of rare beauty and grace. In p
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 23rd 2015 by Candlewick Press
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  274 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Mary Lee
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lovely poem, gorgeous photographs. I would like to see if my students can tease out some meanings other than the literal (flight of birds.)
Heydi Smith
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-storytime
Amazing photography with simple, lyrical words.
Beautiful photos!
Mary Ann
Poet Helen Frost reunites with photographer Rick Lieder to explore the wonders of the natural world. I adored their previous collaboration, Step Gently Out, and this new book is equally as delightful. Frost's poem encourages young readers to watch birds in flight playing in the sky, learning to fly and trusting the sky to hold them aloft. But she also encourages children to do the same:
"Spread your feathers,
sweep up the sun,
ride the wind and explore."
We can read this as a direct encouragement f
Inspirational text set against stunning photos of different species of birds.

Great read aloud, PreK-2+.
Edward Sullivan
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature, poetry
Elegant verse illustrated with stunning color photographs.
This book is listed in, "Recommended Poetry Literature," in the textbook Essentials of Children's Literature, (Short, Lynch-Brown, Tomlinson, p. 94). The photographs of the birds perfectly match the verses. And the verses are inspiring, encouraging and uplifting like the wind under the wings of the birds. At the end of the book are photographs and information about the birds that are all seen in the USA or the USA and Canada, or the USA and Mexico, or the USA and Canada and Mexico. This book co ...more
Timothy Farring
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great work of non fiction that paired with excellent photographs of birds would be a valuable addition to any lesson plan on biology.
I felt that the information in this book was valuable knowledge and I would add this to my classroom library.
The photographs of the birds in this book were breathtaking and I loved reading this book.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like many of the other poetry books for children, Sweep Up the Sun features a section in the back devoted to informative profiles. Sweep Up the Sun is specifically about birds and includes full page spread photographs about each bird. Overall, this book is informative and uplifting, and because of its large photographs and minimal wording will be a favorite of young children.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful nature poems by the author and beautiful photographs of birds in this picture book that would be wonderful to share with children to help them identify and appreciate birds. I have met the author in real life and so I cherish this book.
Luella Lee
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful bird pictures.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
4 for the photos, 2 for the text. Honestly would've preferred just the photos.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous photos; short poetic text.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book! I loved the poem and the pictures actually add a great deal to the overall feeling you get when you read this. I really loved it!
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Lovely photographs of nature.
Vera Godley
Rick Lieder's photography is stunning. You will be tempted to sit and look at these pictures for long periods of time because they capture the grace and beauty of the birds and at the most exquisite moment as their wings sweep through the air.

Helen Frost's words capture the true essence that is these lovely birds putting into words their grace.

"Rise into the air on the strength of your wings--
go out to play in the sky,
trusting it to hold you
as you learn to fly."

I have always been enthralled by t
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, poetry
The pair who created Step Gently Out return with another gorgeous book connecting young readers to nature. This picture book focuses on birds and flight, using the metaphor to encourage young people to "fly" themselves and spread their own wings in life. The poem at the heart of the book is simple and lovely, creating a sense of wonder and opportunity. The photographs dynamically capture eleven species of birds in flight and in their natural habitats. There are wide-mouthed babies in the nest an ...more
Absolutely breathtaking photographs of 11 different types of birds accompany an inspiring poem from Helen Frost. The lines can be read literally since they are, obviously, all about the sojourn of those small winged wonders that sit on our tree branches and fill the blue skies, leaving our hearts in awe at their acrobatic feats. As the birds in this book rise up, stretch their wings, and face down some perils, readers will hold their breath in concern that everything will turn out all right, and ...more
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: clear, picture-books
The star of this book is Rick Lieder's gorgeous photography as the backdrop for Helen Frost's poem. Unlike most bird photography, the subjects of these photographs are captured in mid-flight with the luster of light, shadow, raindrops, and snowflakes. Children and adults will be amazed by the quality of the photographs and encouraged by the verse. In addition, a detailed pictorial glossary at the end gives more detailed information about each species captured in the pictures. I recommend this ti ...more
Sandy Brehl
Full disclaimer- I am an unabashed fan of Helen Frost, and this latest is as visually breathtaking as her poetic text. Also, I admit to being an amateur expert on midwestern birds (retired wildlife rehabilitator) and the subject matter guarantees my interest.
In this case, my high expectations were exceeded. The purity and poetry of the minimalist text results in a page-turning book despite the magnetic draw of each remarkable photograph.
If you never read another Frost book (shame on you!) make
Hannah Cobb
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: storytime
I haven't had time to review all my "regular" books lately, let alone any storytime books, but this book is just so beautiful that I feel compelled to throw it up here. Helen Frost's lyrical poetry pairs perfectly with Rick Lieder's photography; the photos are large and striking enough to make this an excellent read-aloud for even the very young (I used it in my birth-24 months storytime this past week, and it was a big hit). On top of the sheer loveliness of the book I appreciated the message, ...more
The Styling Librarian
Sweep Up the Sun by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder – Poetry, all ages. What an absolutely gorgeous book. Loved how the birds are photographed in their natural settings in the most beautiful scenes. Also appreciate the beautiful narrative that runs through the book. This book is perfect for talking about spring/summer, birds, and also for those thinking about taking risks and adventuring. Loved this book. Know many will enjoy and appreciate it!
Cara Byrne
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is another lovely collaboration between gifted photographer Frost and poet Rick Lieder. Unlike their first picture book that focused on insects, this work captures birds in flight - offering detailed photographs of each feather as it is sprawled out. Each bird has quite a bit of personality, whether it appears meek and mild or showy and boastful. This would be a great gift for a child who loves the outdoors and/or winged creatures.
May 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Rick Lieder’s stunning photographs of a variety of birds, most in flight, is a perfect marriage to Helen Frost’s text, a single poem that inspires readers to dream and take flight. Lyrical narrative and captivating photos make this a wonderful gift book for bird lovers, graduates, and others embarking on adventures. Lieder and Frost teamed up previously to create the book, “Step Out Gently.”
Wonderful, simple in composition, photographs of birds; some are in flight (amazing). Only seven sentences accompany the 14 photographs so it provides an opportunity to talk with children about the birds or let them guide the talk. End pages include a thumbnail of the photos with a paragraph about each type of bird.
Sandy D.
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This short book has incredible photographs of birds (many in flight), paired with a beautiful poem about flying. "Stitching earth to sky with invisible thread" is a phrase that will linger in my memory, I think. There's a nice descriptive afterword on the birds pictured. I'm not sure if children will like it as much as parents, however.
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is so gorgeous--lovely writing and excellent photos!--but I have the feeling that it is the kind of book that adults so dearly fall for and children--while they may like the pictures--don't really go for the writing or even the concept ("spread your wings! fly! learn! grow! explore!). Not so good.
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Incredibly detailed and beautiful photographs of birds are perfectly paired with Frost's uplifting poem. A pair of sparrows flap next to the text, "go out to play in the sky" and a flock of ducks soar on the page that says "flying with friends, your wings will carry you far." Back matter provides names and information about each bird species pictured.
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
The photography in this book blew me away. Each wingtip looks translucent, and the sense of motion captured in the photographs is utterly stunning. This photography, coupled with Helen Frost’s rich poetry makes for lovely experience.

To read my full blog post on picture books about birds, click here
Miss Pippi the Librarian
Sweep Up the Sun is a companion book to Step Gently Out. Both books feature close up photographs of creatures in nature. Sweep up the Sun shares images of 11 different birds. The story is a poem spread out between the beautiful images of birds in flight as well as in rest.

2015 Storytime theme: Birds
2017 storytime: Assisted Living Visit

Reviewed from a library copy.
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Painter and photographer Rick Lieder has been creating fine art and illustration for many years. His art has appeared on award-winning novels ranging from mysteries and science fiction, to books based on the X-Files TV series and Newbery Award-winning books for children.

His fine art has been exhibited in galleries in the Midwest and Canada, and include painting, photography, and digital art.

His na