I think my first year as a school librarian coincided with the year Douglas Florian's insectlopedia was on the Bluebonnet list. The book was a wonder to me and the memory of reading the book with my students is one of the highlights of that first year. The artwork was so accessible and discussible.
I know that I ordered every poetry book he ever produced after that and I have loved sharing his poetry and his art with kids ever since.
Look at the 811 shelf in any school library and you will see very worn and battered copies of Shel Silverstein books but next to them you will see the worn edges of Florian's Laugh-eteria: Poems and Drawings.
I think Florian's new book, comets, stars, the moon and mars is his most expressive yet.
Beginning with the poem "skywatch," two children look at the sky. The next poem is "the universe."
Die cut "planet" holes then move the reader deeper and further through space. From "mercury" to "venus" to "the earth" to "the moon" the poems continue in order according to their average distance from the Sun. Comets, black holes and the mystery of what lies beyond are also addressed. Florian's ability to weave facts and fun are on full display here.
The bright color palette echoes the amazing views from the Hubble space telescope. This generation of kids has grown up looking at Seymour Simon's books about the solar system and The Universe. They have seen the colors that are out there.
Check out the Harcourt page about the book and download Florian's Poetry Kit. The rep. at the Harcourt booth gave this to me at TLA and the "Practical Poetry Pointers" are some of the most best tips for writing poetry with kids that I have ever seen.
You have Gotta-Have-It.
Interviews with Douglas Florian
Wild Rose Reader