Janeczko, Paul B., sel. Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems. illus. by Melissa Sweet. 48p. Candlewick. Mar. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763648428. LC 2013943087.
K-Gr 4–Organized by the seasons, beginning with spring, this collection of 36 impeccably chosen short poems demonstrates that significant emotional power can reside in just a few lines. In obvious contrast with such small bites of poetry, the large-format design explodes with bright and expressive watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media collages. Colors and shapes with willowy details expertly blur or bring bits of the images into focus to create a magical sense of place, time, and beauty. The poems range from work by William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, and Langston Hughes to that of James Stevenson, Joyce Sidman, and Ralph Fletcher. The first verse opens the book with daybreak, and after exploring the whole year, the final selection sends readers off to sleep: “A welcome mat of moonlight/on the floor. Wipe your feet/before getting into bed” (Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser). Every poem evokes a moment, and, combined with its corresponding full-bleed illustration, the season is captured for readers to remember, experience, or anticipate. Any collection will be brighter with the inclusion of this treasure.–Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA