Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Open the Gates

Open the Gates

Dabney Stuart
Illustrator:  Susan E. Elliott 
Poetry Picture Book
for ages 6 to 10
Pinyon Publishing, 2010   ISBN: 978-0982156162

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a giraffe? What would it be like to live in “a world of sky and trees?” High above our heads a giraffe “in the dappling sun” munches on leaves, her head “up there in her weave/ of sky and leaves.”

As you watch a bumblebee buzzing around a flower you might wonder if these busy little creatures “fumble,” “bumble,” “mumble,” or “tumble.” Are they as clumsy as their name suggests? They certainly work hard enough, and they seem very efficient as they fly from flower to flower. Could it be that their name really does not suit them after all?

If you watch an armadillo, it looks as if it is slow. It seems to “wallow” under the weight of its heavy protective covering. Appearances can be deceiving though. Armadillos are actually quick on their feet, and woe betide any insect who happens to walk into an armadillo’s path. It will soon end up as armadillo food.

For this excellent collection of poems, Dabney Stuart explores a colorful collection of animals. We read about koalas, whales, a dove, groundhogs, newts, and many more creatures of all kinds. With humor, delightful details, and interesting connections, the author paints pictures in words. Young readers are sure to enjoy the different poetry forms that they will encounter in this book, and they are sure to become fond of at least one animal that is mentioned in this poetical menagerie.