Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Nest, Nook, and Cranny

Nest, Nook, and Cranny

Susan Blackaby
Illustrator:  Jamie Hogan 
For ages 9 and up
Charlesbridge Pub Inc, 2010   ISBN: 978-1580893503

Animals live in all kinds of habitats, and they build or use a wide variety of homes. Some of them dig burrows, built nests, or scrape out a place to rest under a rock or log. Others, like snails and tortoises, carry their homes, their refuges, with them wherever they go. In this special collection of poems, Susan Blackaby explores five habitats, looking at some of the animals that live in these environments. She tells us about their habits, and about the homes that they create for themselves.

In the desert, we meet snakes who like to “nest in secluded places” where they will be safe from extremes of weather and predators. The places they chose to hide very much depends on what “sorts of snakes they are.”

On grasslands, you might find hares who, unlike their rabbit relatives, have no interest in digging burrows and living in crowded and noisy warrens. Instead, hares live in “hare-sized bowls” in pairs or alone, where they can find some peace and quiet.

In wetlands, ducks take great care to choose just the right “marshy place” where they can raise their ducklings. They need to be near water, but they also have to look out for snapping turtles who like to snack on ducklings given half a chance.

In this unique book, the author uses a variety of poetry forms to explore the homes and habitats of animals. There are poems that rhyme, and those that are written in blank verse. There is even one poem that is punctuated by animal sounds.

At the back of the book, the author provides her readers with further information about habitats, and she also tells us about the poetry forms she uses, and why she chose to use them as she did.