Wake, Sleepy One: California Poppies and the Super Bloom

West Margin. Apr. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781513128689.
PreS-Gr 2–A poppy seed becomes part of the super bloom in California. In short sentences, Kerr explains how a poppy grows and survives in the desert. When all the poppies bloom at once, it is known as a super bloom. It is a simple premise but packed with interesting information conveyed through whimsical writing. The descriptions almost anthropomorphize the flower. After statements such as “Poppy is awake” or “Poppy shivers,” the narrator tenderly instructs the flower to “Wait, sleepy one” or “Fold, sleepy one.” The use of recurring onomatopoeia should also engage young listeners or early readers. Chunks of text in smaller font at the bottom of the pages add historical or scientific background without breaking the flow of the story. The illustrations highlight the desert creatures, such as rattlesnakes, mice, and scorpions, who rejoice in the super bloom. Kids might be perplexed by the scale (how big is that ant facing the rattlesnake?), but will enjoy the full detailed spreads. There is a large amount of back matter, including a glossary, information about super blooms and how to protect them, a list of locations, and resources.
VERDICT For young nature enthusiasts or browsers, this is ideal narrative nonfiction.

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