Poetrees by Douglas Florian (Beach Lane Books, 2010) is a creative collection of poems about trees, seeds, and the growing cycle of plant life presented in a colorful and innovative way.
The first thing to catch the reader’s attention is the layout of the book. While most picture books have a left-side binding, this one has a top binding. It is fun to peruse a book that has such a different approach, and since trees are often tall and majestic, this is simply perfect for a picture book about majestic trees!
Beyond the page layout, however, is the creativity with which the author formats each poem. His “shape poems” are wonderfully accurate. The poem about the baobab, for example, is fat, with a rectangular structure just like the thick tree. “Oak” has two close lines and then two expanded lines and the four-line poem almost resembles an acorn’s thick top and lighter bottom portion.
My favorite poem in this collection is “The Seed.” It is written in the form of an infinity symbol, and the meaning of the one line is that the seed grows into a tree, which produces a seed. The infinity symbol appropriately captures the infinity that is inside of a seed, and I think it is simply beautiful.
I believe Poetrees would be a wonderful volume for kids to be introduced to poetry. I look forward to experiencing Douglas Florian’s other self-illustrated poetry picture book, Dinothesaurus, as well, for I love how he has merged language, poetic concepts, and format into one in this volume.
What picture book collections of poetry can you recommend?
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