Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Barefoot Book of Earth Poems

The Barefoot Book of Earth Poems

Complied by Judith Nicholls
Illustrator:  Beth Krommes 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Barefoot Books, 2016   ISBN: 978-1782852780

Nature is a powerful force in our world and over the centuries its beauty and majesty has inspired countless poets to “represent the sights and sounds of nature, and the feelings that nature evokes in us.” Through their poems, these writers have celebrated nature. Some have also asked their readers to appreciate what is around them, and to look after the natural world so that it might be enjoyed by future generations.

For this collection Judith Nicholls has brought together poems that were written by people from all over the world. We begin with the words of Mary Kawena Pukui, a Hawaiian poet, whose poem celebrates the fact that birds, flowers, trees, and ocean creatures remind us that our planet is a truly “lovely world” no matter where we live.

In Father and I in the woods David McCord uses spare language and dialogue to remind us that the best way to be a part of nature is to walk instead of run, to be silent instead of talking, and to just “be” so that we can observe the “sky and brook and bird / And tree.”

In Everything’s Wet we experience a rainfall, and in Winter we read of a “white horse” that brings the snow, which “filled the land with its spirit.” We encounter stars and the sun, a lark rising up into the air and filling the sky with its song. We are told about Forest, a living entity that keeps her counsel, who dreams of the world when “the earth was young,” and who is woken by the howl of the howler monkey in the morning. Just as Forest keeps her secrets, we in turn must “keep Forest.”

The poems in this collection are beautifully varied and constantly surprising. They delight they ear, and are accompanied by beautiful artwork which delights the eye.