A Way with Wild Things

Bloomsbury. Mar. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781681190396.
PreS-Gr 1–Poppy is a young girl fascinated by insects. She spends her time in nature, studying various bugs, but when she is with people, she is timid, preferring to camouflage into the background instead of conversing. However, at her Grandmother Phyllis’s 100th birthday party, which is held outside, Poppy spies a dragonfly, which draws her out into the crowd. When the dragonfly lands on her hand, the guests crowd around to learn about the creature. At first, Poppy wishes she could hide, until she at last finds her courage and quietly tells the guests that Anisoptera is the scientific name for a dragonfly. The concluding pages reveal that Poppy no longer sees herself as a wallflower, but instead as a “wildflower.” The writing is lyrical, featuring figurative language that reflects the pensive Poppy and the serene nature with which she surrounds herself. Quiet, thoughtful Poppy is endearing and young readers will relate to her shyness and root for her to come out of her shell and share her knowledge with her friends and family. The artwork is detailed, featuring an array of characters, bright colors, and expansive spreads of Poppy enjoying the world around her. Back matter includes a glossary of the bugs depicted throughout the book.
VERDICT Young readers will be encouraged to explore nature and find their confidence in this lovely picture book. Recommended.

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