A Mirror to Nature: Poems About Reflection

Jane Yolen, Author, Jason Stemple, Photographer
Jane Yolen, Author, Jason Stemple, Photographer , photos by Jason Stemple. Boyds Mills/Wordsong $17.95 (31p) ISBN 978-1-59078-624-6
Reviewed on: 04/20/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
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Pairing lyrical poems and crisp photography to great effect, this collection is a gem. Each poem contains Yolen's response to a series of photographs that portray living things reflected in water. Stemple's photographs startle the reader with the extraordinary beauty of the ordinary things, and Yolen's poems are laced with humor (sometimes wry, sometimes overt) and with environmental undercurrents. Beside a portrait of blue wood storks, she offers, “How to double your population?/ Stand in water smooth as glass./ This is not mere speculation; Check the wood storks by the grass.” In “Jaws x 2 x 80,” an alligator's jaws are seen twice, “One pair/ is real,/ and one/ a reflection./ But I'll never/ give either/ a closer/ inspection.” The book's design—poem across from photograph, with bands of solid color along opposing edges—mimics the photographs' inherent symmetry, while leaving room for brief information about nature. The images and words resonate—readers will find themselves responding to Yolen's introductory invitation to “linger over these photos, contemplate the poems, see if together or separately they make you think again, make you reflect.” Ages 10–12. (Apr.)

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