"Mordhorst's deft wordplay and carefully honed images cause us to look anew at the stuff of life"
Pumpkin Butterfly was originally titled Ghosts: Poems from the Other Side of Nature. In many of the poems, most explicitly the first, I imagined something like the ghosts, the spirits beyond what we actually see in nature. Here are some reviews along with a couple of poems from this book.
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recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children
"I love how these poems sing! I love the playfulness of language (Most Realistic Costume Award!). I love the unnamed riddles (Winged Solstice!). I love the varying points-of-view you use to explore your subjects (Winter Linens!). Your poems are joyful, and many of them take us places we haven't been before. The art is a great match, too. Brava!"
“Heaven might be this / dark and wet and dangerous.” The excitement of the natural world, from a thrilling lightning storm to butterflies “untethered from earth,” is a child’s joyful discovery in this poetry collection. At home in his yard, the child enjoys playing with the falling leaves, “mounding and drifting and trickling and piling / curling and crumbling and blowing and flying.” The bright watercolor, oil, and tempera illustrations extend the metaphors, with delicately detailed images of petal-soft, tiny, pink, cherry-tree blossoms pedaling toward summer or the literal image of the young speaker’s hoarse throat (the horse may be thirsty for lemon and honey, “but if I feed him / he’ll whinny and fly away”). Far from any solemn reverential view of nature, the poems are filled with fun action that is always rooted in physicality, whether it is shooting a cherry pit missile out of the park (“spitwhistle summerfun home run”) or making frozen angels in the snow. " ~ Hazel Rochman
"Maryland poet Heidi Mordhorst begins her tribute to the seasons with poems rife with autumnal motifs: pumpkins, the “rusted heat” of fallen leaves and, of course, “frisky whisky” squirrels. Mordhorst’s deft wordplay and carefully honed images cause us to look anew at the stuff of life, including a black cat that is a “howl-yowl queen of prowl,” a wintry sore throat called a “red dragon-horse” and the “pin-thin and brittle” shell of a spring egg. Jenny Reynish’s delicate watercolors capture the look and different moods of each of these 23 free-verse poems. This lyrical treat can be savored year-round, whether you’re curled up by a crackly fire or lounging beneath a summer tree." ~ Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
"This mostly solid collection of 23 poems spans the four seasons through a variety of poetic forms and formats. While some will speak to middle grade readers, others reach toward the broader knowledge base of teens and adults, using sophisticated concepts ("Guest List: Charles Darwin's Garden Party" is a rhymed list of species of living things); conceits ("a gust of butterflies" rises from a pumpkin patch—"the ghosts of our pumpkins…untethered from earth"); and literary phraseology ("my dark doppelgänger/freed by the sun's high call"). Piles of fallen leaves, the behavior of squirrels and raccoons, angels in the snow, blossoming trees, summer shadows, insects, sunflowers, and lightning storms are the subjects here. Reynish clearly enjoys using elements of ethnic- and folk-art decoration and detailing in her colorful watercolor paintings that create frames or backgrounds for many of the selections. Douglas Florian's Handsprings (HarperCollins, 2006), Joyce Sidman's Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (Houghton, 2006), and J. Patrick Lewis's July Is a Mad Mosquito (S & S, 1994) would make good companions to Mordhorst's volume because each of these fine collections offers an entirely different sort of poetry on nature and seasons."—Susan Scheps