Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night – Written by Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Rick Allen

Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night, Written by Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Rick Allen, 2010, 32 p., New York: Houghton. 9780547152288.

Age Range: 8-12 years.

Author Website: Joyce Sidman: http://www.joycesidman.com/

No Illustrator Website.

Media Used: The prints in this book were made by the process of relief printing.  A drawing or sketch is transferred onto a block of wood or, in this instance, a sheet of linoleum mounted on wood, and the drawing is then cut and carved away using a variety of tools.  The area left uncut are covered with ink and printed on paper by hand or on a press; a number of blocks can be cut and then successively printed in different colors, with the different blocks being “registered” or aligned to create a multicolored print.  The prints for Dark Emperor were each printed from at least three blocks (and in some instances as many as six) and then hand-colored with a strongly pigmented water color called gouache.  (Information from copyright page in book.)

Awards: ALA Notable Children’s Books: 2011, Booklist Editor’s Choice: 2010, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors: 2011, Bulletin Blue Ribbons: 2010, Horn Book Fanfare: 2010, Newbery Honor Books: 2011, Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children: 2011.

Annotation: Discover the night world through poetry sprinkled with interesting facts.

Personal Reaction:  This book is a fantastic mixture of poetry with facts and topped with fantastic illustrations to boot.  Every two pages, a new poem is introduced, focusing on everything from bats, raccoons, porcupine, and spiders.  

Not only is there fantastic poetry for youth to read, but there is also a side bar featuring information about what has been written in the poem.  Here, readers will discover how the moon reflects light, and detailed information about the world of mushrooms.  This makes for a great mixture of enjoyable reading through poetry, and solid facts at the same time.  It’s no wonder this book has received so much buzz and so many awards. 

In addition to fantastic poetry, the reader is also shown amazing illustrations.  The book does not give much information on the materials used in this book, but it does explain that this illustrator produces original linoleum cuts, wood engravings, broadsheets and other printed illustrations.  No matter what material used by Allen, it is clearly a fantastically drawn book.

Use of Advanced Language: “Perched missile, almost invisible, you preen silent feathers, swivel your sleek satellite dish of a head.” (pg. 12)

This entry was posted in Poetry, Published in 2010 or 2011, Use of Advanced Language. Bookmark the permalink.

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