An Earth Song (Petite Poems)

Cameron Kids. Apr. 2023. 24p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781951836931.
K-Gr 2–Hughes’s simple but surprisingly sophisticated, short poem celebrating the arrival of a new season has been visually interpreted with charm and verve. It starts with a small Black child looking out of an apartment window. Bold colors and simple shapes on uncluttered pages effectively create childlike illustrations in what appear to be gouache. Initially the window is snowy, but time seems to pass and soon the spring song starts: “Strong as the shoots of a new plant/ Strong as the bursting of new buds/ Strong as the coming of the first child from its mother’s womb.” The child views the urban surroundings first from afar, then from the sidewalk as he walks with his mother in front of their building, seeing signs of new life: a pregnant woman, flowers, children playing on green grass, seeds. On the last pages of the book, delicate white dandelion seeds the child blows into the air across a blue sky become (literally) the notes of spring. After all, “It’s an earth song,/ A body song,/ A spring song.” The entire short poem and a brief endnote about the poet and his work conclude this small, handsome, and surprisingly touching illustrated poem.
VERDICT Not essential but a highly recommended addition to both school and public library collections.

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