Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night

by Joyce Sidman (Author) Rick Allen (Illustrator)

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night

A 2011 Newbery Honor Book

Come feel the cool and shadowed breeze,
come smell your way among the trees,
come touch rough bark and leathered leaves:
Welcome to the night.

Welcome to the night, where mice stir and furry moths flutter. Where snails spiral into shells as orb spiders circle in silk. Where the roots of oak trees recover and repair from their time in the light. Where the porcupette eats delicacies--raspberry leaves!--and coos and sings.

Come out to the cool, night wood, and buzz and hoot and howl--but do beware of the great horned owl--for it's wild and it's windy way out in the woods!
This Newbery Honor-winning picture book combines beautifully written poetry with facts of the forest and elaborate illustrations to form a marvelously engaging collection.


More books in the series - See All

School Library Journal

Gr 3-6--Sidman continues her explorations of natural history in this set of poems about nocturnal life in the forest. As in her other collections, each selection is set in an expansive spread that includes a factual discussion of the featured subject. The illustrations are bold, richly detailed linoleum prints colored in gouache. The 12 poems are led by a scene setting "Welcome to the Night" and go on to feature 9 different creatures and some mushrooms with a concluding lament by the moon as night fades into morning. Sidman adroitly applies varied poetic forms and rhyme schemes. The title's dark emperor, the great horned owl, lends its shape to the one concrete poem, and the closing lament is in the medieval style known as an ubi sunt. The poetry is reflective and at times philosophical. "Build a frame/and stick to it, /I always say./Life's a circle....Eat your triumphs, /eat your mistakes: /that way your belly/will always be full...," advises the night spider. Other poems are playful and some just a bit confusing. The porcupine poem explains that the infant of this species is known as a porcupette; the repeated use of "baby porcupette" seems oddly redundant. The bookmaking is beautiful with the concept of night lending itself generously to poetry. It invites lingering enjoyment for nature and poetry fans, and, as with Sidman's earlier collections, it might be used with varied curriculums.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review
"Welcome to the night!" cries the opening poem in this celebration of nocturnal life. Everything from snails to mushrooms has a role to play and something different to say (the title is taken from a concrete poem about a horned owl, narrated by its would-be prey: "Perched missile, / almost invisible, you/ preen silent feathers, / swivel your sleek satellite/ dish of a head"). Spiders offer advice, porcupettes pirouette, and the moon laments the dawn, all illuminated by debut talent Allen's detailed yet moody prints, which encapsulate the mysteries and magic of the midnight hours. Opposite each poem is a short note on the featured creature, explaining its appearance and habits. In Sidman's delicious poems, darkness is the norm, and there's nothing to fear but the rising sun. Ages 69. (Sept.) Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.
Joyce Sidman
The Newbery Honor Award winner Joyce Sidman is simply one of the best poets writing for children today. For her body of work, she recently won the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She lives in Wayzata, Minnesota, where she has grown to know the cold. joycesidman.com Rick Allen endures the winter by pressing original linoleum cuts, curious wood engravings, and other printed ephemera in collaboration with his wife and creative partner, Marian Lansky, and their assistant, Janelle Miller. kenspeckleletterpress.com
Classification
Nonfiction
ISBN-13
9780547152288
Lexile Measure
1020L
Guided Reading Level
V
Publication date
September 20, 2010
Series
Newbery Medal - Honors Title(s)
Age Range
6 - 9 years
Newbery Medal
Honor Book 2011
Cybils
Finalist 2010
Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards
Honor Book 2011
Beehive Awards
Nominee 2012
Young Hoosier Book Award
Nominee 2013

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!