Poetry Friday–The Almost Solstice Edition!

Welcome to Poetry Friday. Mr. Linky and I are happy to host the solstice roundup. Please leave your links below.

It’s 5:29 pm on Thursday as I begin to write this post, and there’s a faint orange glow on the horizon. One advantage of living on the western edge of a time zone is that afternoon light does not totally disappear as we approach the winter solstice. I would rather awaken in darkness than lose the light at 4:30. Still, I’m looking forward to being on the other side of the shortest day of the year, anticipating the lengthening days of January and beyond.

The short days of winter are a perfect time to bring home a stack of books from the library and discover new favorites. A few weeks ago my pile included Liz Garton Scanlon’s new book, One Dark Bird.

Oh my stars–this is one magnificent book! As I read it I was completely captivated with the seamless rhymes and the amazing way the story weaves together a counting book and a beautiful natural history tale. Starling after starling joins a murmuration, escapes a predator, and then settles in the safety of trees for the evening (where counting back down begins.) And the language–wowzers! Here’s how the book describes the flock’s escape from the threat of a hawk:

Waves like water
dark then light
from down to up
then left to right

a rush, a murmur
out turns in

a dot-to-dot
a corkscrew spin
flapping fervor
noisy clutch

they dance together
without touch

The illustrations beautifully match the words–that dot-to-dot and corkscrew spin are gorgeous on the page. I shared this book with a writing friend recently, and said I wanted to be Liz Garton Scanlon when I grow up. Little did I know that my pal knows Liz, and told her of my adulation. Can you see my face glowing red when I learned of this? But this is a book that makes me realize how much a lyrical picture book can accomplish, and inspires me to keep writing. I typed out the text of the book before returning it, and squirreled it away in my inspiration folder.

If you’re still shopping for a picture-book lover in your life, I recommend this one (okay, you’ve already figured that out from my gushing!) And while I’m recommending gifts for late shoppers, I’ll give a plug for my talented daughter’s newest game. Do you have older teens or twenty-somethings who like to tell stories and enjoy role-playing games? Here’s a gift suggestion: for $4 you can buy a pdf and print out a clever game about childhood friends living apart from each other for the first time, told through alternating in-person sessions and written letters. Check it out here

Wishing you a Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and joyful celebrations of all kind. And here’s hoping, after this season of darkness, for renewal and light in the coming year!

31 thoughts on “Poetry Friday–The Almost Solstice Edition!

  1. Hi, Buffy–

    Came down with a stomach bug Friday night and am just getting around to PF posts…but I have to tell you I have the same admiration for Liz. Her book ALL THE WORLD is one of my favorite, favorite picture books ever, one that I wish I’D written (you know that highest compliment, I can tell), and I’m excited to see this one–a murmuration is a natural amazement I will never get tired of.

  2. I just saw my first murmuration last weekend! I was mesmerized Tried to capture it on video, but it will have to live in my memory. Can’t wait to see this book. Thanks so much for hosting and bringing it to our attention. Cheers! — Christie

  3. This looks like an amazing book–both the text and the illustrations. I love stories and poems about birds! Thanks for sharing this one.
    And thanks for hosting, too.
    And happy solstice!

  4. Oh, yay, I’m so glad you’re giving me a peek at Liz’s book! I LOVE starlings, and hadn’t gotten to really see any huge murmurations since moving back to the U.S. — in the UK, riding the train, I often saw huge swoops just before the light faded at the end of the day — what a gorgeous memory. Thank you for hosting to day, happy winter holidays!

  5. Oh, Buffy! I am overcome! I almost missed this because I didn’t get to Poetry Friday this time around, but I was alerted on Twitter and I am so, so flattered. I’m touched you love this book — and laughing at you wanting to be me when you grow up! I still need to grow up myself, so you may be disappointed if you look too closely! Anyway, thanks for making my Friday 🙂

  6. Wow! The book looks gorgeous! I love both the sample text you gave and the illustrations! Thank you for sharing and recommending it. I’ll have to check it out at the library. Thanks for hosting!

  7. Buffy, this morning the meteorologist was commenting on the pink hue over New York City. Unfortunately, I could not find a similar hue here on Long Island but I could wonder on the beauty of the faint orange glow on your horizon. Thank you for hosting PF and bringing us the news of Liz Garton Scanlon’s new book. I love the language she uses to describe the scenes. The illustrations are gorgeous also. Enjoy your holidays and the happy beginning of a new decade.

  8. Thanks for featuring Liz’s new book — totally stunning and I love the excerpt and illustrations you shared. So cool that your daughter made a game! Thanks for hosting this week. Wishing you the happiest holiday season ever, and Happy Solstice!

  9. How cool that your daughter made a game! (My husband and I are going to try to make a board game for our son for Christmas…I’m pretty nervous about how it will turn out!) Liz’s book looks amazing. Thanks for sharing it and thanks for hosting 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing Liz Garton Scanlon’s luscious new book, “One Dark Bird,” it looks and sounds wonderful, I’m looking forward to reading it. And what a fun story you shared. Thanks also for hosting the roundup Buffy. Happy Winter Solstice and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  11. Oh, Buffy! I can totally see why you want to be LIz when you grow up. The verse you shared is vivid and beautifully crafted as are the accompanying illustrations. Thank you so much for this sneak peek. I will definitely be adding this book to my “to buy” list! Thanks also for hosting this week.

  12. Wow! The combination of words and illustrations in ‘One Dark Bird’ are stunning. I think I need this book! Thanks for the tip. And, thank you for hosting this week. I’m home from a long day, long week of school and ready for not just the weekend but winter break. Curling up with some poetry is lovely and warm and good.

    1. Buffy, I love the verse and illustrations of One Dark Bird that you share . I will definitely look for this book. I checked out your daughter’s game description- very clever. I certainly did not know correspondence games existed. Thank you for hosting this week, too.

  13. What wonderful rhyming verse and illustrations in ONE DARK BIRD! I will definitely find Liz Garton Scanlon’s book! Thank you. My sister lives in California and she often sends me pictures of striking orange and red sunsets. Happy Holidays!

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