2011 Honor: Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night

VERDICT: Treasure

Sally’s Rating: 3/5

Joyce Sidman’s Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night is a collection of poetry that details the lives of the animals, plants and insects that thrive in the forest during the nighttime.

Each poem follows a different nighttime creature – owls, trees, moths, mushrooms, bats and crickets, just to name a few. The poetry is also accompanied by colorful illustrations drawn by illustrator Rick Allen and a small blurb that introduces readers to some scientific facts.

My favorite poems were both cute and wielded some fun word play. In “Welcome to the Night,” nighttime creatures are slowly awakening from the daytime nap. “Dark Emperor” deftly details the terror of a mouse that is hoping to get away sight unseen from a great horned owl. My favorite, though, was “I Am a Baby Porcupette,” where the nocturnal animal baby can still deal with any threat despite being small and cute.

This book was a quick read with some simplistic and lyrical poetry. While I didn’t find the poems to be great works of art, Dark Emperor is a fun way to introduce children to the creepy crawlies of the night and enhance their knowledge of animal and botany trivia.

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