Friday, November 4, 2016

november kaboom

"November Volcano" illustrated by Christoph Niemann, 2016

Fall is late this year in the mid-Atlantic--and in the last weeks we've had two days in the high 70's and two above 80*!  It's been hard to settle into the season, but fortunately Halloween was chilly--and yet not as leafy-scuffly-rustly as it usually is.  Our leaves fall late compared to New England--not until the end of October--and this year it's only in the last couple of days that color change has really been noticeable. 

But when it starts, it's thrilling!  A good gust and the trees seem to be spouting hot lava, red and glowing yellow. And that's even before they're raked into a mountain and exploded by a daring leap into its crater! A poetic mom and her 7-year-old son might just have to write about it...and that's how the wee poem in One Minute till Bedtime came to be.

One of my favorite things about this gorgeous book (see my earlier rhapsodizing here) is that in most cases each poem, even the briefest, has been given its own page and often its own illustration.  The generous amount of white space acts as a two-dimensional pedestal, elevating each poem to its highest effect, like a gem on velvet under glass.  And yet the "glass" is penetrable--small hands can reach right into each illustration to grab the energy.  Don't you want to jump in there too?!

Thanks once again to Kenn Nesbitt, Christoph Niemann, and to every one of the other poets whose work graces this book--and special kudos to Phil Caminiti, Nicole Brown and David Caplan, the designers and art director listed in the front matter.  The difference a great book designer can make--especially in children's books--is beyond quantification.

Laura has the round-up today at Writing the World for Kids--go jump in, throw leaves, explode!


  1. Great poem, Heidi! I'm with you about white space. It makes text so much more manageable. It provides the eyes a rest, and, most importantly, it makes a reader unafraid to get involved in the first place!

  2. This is a fabulous haiku, Heidi--adore it! I added your link--not sure why Mr. Linky doesn't show up for you (nobody else has had similar issue--YET). I totally agree with your observations about the white space. It elevates this book and every poem in it.

  3. Heidi, I love the analogy here in your poem. The illustration is just right. I just went back to reread your title and it provides the right entry into your post. Congratulations. If you have an offering for my #Autumnventure Gallery, I would love to add it to the collection.

    1. Carol, thank you! And thanks to Diane and Laura too. I will take your invitation to heart this time, Carol, and send you something for the Gallery.

  4. Wonderful to imagine that leaf pile as "hot lava", Heidi. Now I will think of that every time. I have the book and still need to start reading! My granddaughters are spending Sat. night, and that will be a great way to start!

  5. What a fun page and poem, Heidi! My copy should be on its way from Michelle. I won! I hope it comes before NCTE so I can get all of my poet friends to sign it!

  6. Wonderful poem. Really captures the high point of November. :-)

  7. I love the poem, and the illustration is perfect for it!

  8. I can see how this poem could inspire a rockstar lesson on metaphor for 2nd graders!!

  9. An explosion of delight. Congrats to you for this poem and of course all around on this amazing book!:0)


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!