Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

In the Spin of Things: Poetry of Motion

In the Spin of Things: Poetry of Motion

Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Illustrator:  Karen Dugan 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Wordsong, 2010   ISBN: 978-1590788288

We live in a world that is full of movement. Leaves on trees shiver, birds fly through the sky, cars whizz down roads. Most of the time we barely notice what is going on around us because we are so busy being in motion ourselves.

In this clever collection of poems, the author explores everyday moments when something is in motion. She begins by looking at the way in which cereal bobs in a bowl of milk. There are “flagging flakes,” “soft moons” and even cereal stars that do “the butterfly stroke” in the milk. Then there is the pepper shaker that gets busy sprinkling “a million / midnight dots” on hash browns and scrambled eggs. When it’s work is done, the shaker is back on its base “hot dots settle / into place.”

In the classroom the pencil sharpener “nibbles” away at pencils, and a pair of scissors “slides open, / squeezes shut.” The globe spins around “a swirl of blue / a whirl of brown” as oceans and continents going flying by.

Later in the book, we explore the movement a “crumpled” empty soda can makes as it tumbles across a sidewalk. We watch wind chimes dancing like “tin ballerinas” on their strings in the wind, and we see the flame of a candle with its “curvy wave” flickering before it is blown out.

With wonderful word pictures and a clever use of rhyming and non-rhyming verse, Rebecca Kai Dotlich turns the ordinary into something extraordinary.