Published in association with The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Junli Song’s cover art instantly attracts attention. We see a landscape, a mountain glowing in the background, trees their branches covered in blooms, squirrels scurried through them, blossoms fill the air and people, many with parasols and wearing flowery kimonos, wander; it is a scene that speaks of wonder. The reader is drawn to hold the book, keen to open it to find what is inside.
Here we find ourselves taking a journey through the seasons in the company of Zaro Weil whose poems and playlets guide us picking up details, drawing attention to them. We meet butterflies, plants, birds, colours – even a wizard – brought to life through a variety of poetical forms from free verse to nursery rhyme rhythms, raps and haikus; these are particularly effective in capturing the four elements that make up our world. Running through the whole is the message of care and attention we, as part of it, need to extend to this natural world from the most insignificant insect to the mighty oak and beyond. The language is engaging, immediate. The poet invites the young reader to a conversation, directing the gaze beyond the page with her accessible, child like vocabulary that never talks down but respects her audience. Enhancing this experience are Junli Song’s prints which spread over the pages and draw on her artistic heritage. Sometimes a particular aspect is placed in exquisite detail, other occasions she will fill the spreads with a landscape, trees – or even the roots, her palette though purposely limited, vibrant and immersive.
A lovely anthology that should find its place both in the classroom and home, providing as it does opportunities for quiet contemplation and lively interaction – there are the little plays demanding to be performed.