This Poem Is a Nest

Boyds Mills/Wordsong. Sept. 2020. 112p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781684373635.
Gr 3 Up–Latham uses a single poem, which details the seasonal evolution of a bird’s nest, as the foundation for 161 smaller “nestling” poems. Latham only utilizes words found in her “Nest” poem to create the other poems, and she keeps the words in the same order as they appear in the original work. The author also achieves the feat of using each of the words from “Nest” at least once. “Nest” is a gorgeous rush of sensory imagery, from “little bits of feather-fluff” to the “wild cathedral of forest” soaring above. The nestling poems center on subjects as diverse as losing a sports game, the color black, a herd of alpaca in the rain, and what to do when you feel hopeless. Each nestling is a warm, accessible, bite-size poem. Some are playful and some are profound. Young writers will be motivated to find their own nestlings and to think deeply about the power of words. Latham offers friendly and encouraging advice on how to create nestling poems and reminds writers that they are both poets and poems themselves. Wright’s soft illustrations are gentle, and the ink washes create a lush, dreamy feel. The illustrations of children pictured on each section’s title page perhaps skew a bit on the younger side. However, this book can be enjoyed by any age. The children are depicted with light skin and dark skin.
VERDICT A beautiful, emotional, and incredibly creative poetry book that inspires reflection, dreaming, and writing. A must for libraries and schools.

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