This Perfect Picture Book Friday, I Share the Lovely Poetry of Joyce Sidman.

The world outside my window is preparing to change scenes from the vast summer greens to the glowing pallet of autumn’s fiery golds. Watching the magical changes of nature and the hustle and bustle of the animals, preparing for winter, inspires me to write poetry. Yes, even Bob, my faithful backyard squirrel, is filling up his winter stash with the nuts and seeds I set outside for him each morning. Instead of perching on the plate to nibble his treats, Bob fills his cheeks before scampering back to his tree, only to return moments later to collect more food for the coming winter months.

Being true to who I am, I worry about Bob. With my move at the start of next week, I wonder if the new owners will continue to care for my bushy-tailed squirrel. Knowing my love for the backyard animals in my care, a friend of mine offered to live capture Bob, his family, cousins, and friends and transport them to my new address. (Thank you, Don, I’d like that very much.)

For this week’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, I chose to share a book by one of my favorite poets, Joyce Sidman, whose thoughtful rhymes are sure to enchant you. A poetry book isn’t complete without illustrations that stand on their own as treats for the eyes to behold. I promise you will become equally captivated with the artwork of Beth Krommes, the illustrator whose talents you’ll find on every page.

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by [Joyce Sidman, Beth Krommes]

Title – Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow

Written by- Joyce Sidman

Illustrated by  – Beth Krommes

Suitable for ages – 8 to 12 (Although intended for children, I believe everyone can treasure these poems.)

Topics/theme – Children’s poetry, Meadow animals, nature.

Opening – Here is the first stanza from the poem, In the Almost-Light

In the dark, in the night,

in the almost-light,

in the leaf-crisp air just before sunlight,

sprouts a secret, silent, sparking sight:

berries grown on the vines of night.

Synopsis from Amazon – Discover the hidden world of the meadow in this unique combination of poetry riddles and science wisdom. Beginning with the rising sun and ending with twilight, this book takes us on a tour through the fields, encouraging us to watch for a nest of rabbits, a foamy spittlebug, a leaping grasshopper, bright milkweed, a quick fox, and a cruising hawk.

Why do I like this book? To describe Joyce Sidman’s poems, I would compare each one to a beautiful painting unfolding before one’s eyes. Her metaphors will have you saying, “Yes! If I had everything in the world to choose from, this is the perfect likeness to the morning air, the velvety horns of the deer, the dry earth, and the fluff-filled pods of the milkweed. Adding to the magic of each poem are Beth Krommes’s lovingly-created, scratchboard illustrations that are genuinely marvel-worthy.

Learn more about Joyce Sidman HERE.

Learn more about Beth Krommes HERE.

I chose a few links to get you started for those intested in learning about scratchboard art,

Russ McMullin’s Scratchboard Tutorial HERE.

An easy-to-follow video that’s perfect for kids and parents HERE.

And one more kid-friendly, scratchboard tutorial HERE.

I hope you’ll visit me next week for another PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY.


The Monday Poems Think About Valentine’s Day

Holidays, when I was a child, were made extra special by my mother. Valentine’s Day meant a kitchen filled with the buttery, sweet smell of freshly baked, heart-shaped cookies. Once cooled, Mom sandwhiched a thin layer of raspberry jelly between two cookies and frosted the tops in white and pink. The platter with these decorative treats earned a place of honor on the dining room table where my family gathered for a festive dinner.

Mom always gave thoughtful gifts on every gift-giving holiday, but it was her Valentine’s Day cards I remember most. More than a red heart cut from paper, pasted on a white doily, her handmade Valentines declared her love through poems she wrote for each of us, penned in white ink in elaborate caligraphy.

Mom didn’t need to make cards to tell me how much I meant to her; I always knew she loved me through her countless kindnesses she showed me each day.


Perhaps I’ll make a card and write the words, I love you, dear.

Perhaps I’ll send a rose to indicate my love’s sincere.

Better still, I’ll stay beside you and never let us grow apart,

For you will always be the one I cherish in my heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Wishing each of you a Happy Valentine’s Day.


Perfect Picture Book Friday Shares a Poetic Year of Celebrations.

Back in September, of that year many of us don’t like to speak about, I shared two picture poetry books by Raven Howell followed by her interview. Today, for Perfect Picture Book Friday, I’m pleased to share another of Raven’s poetry books that focuses on the various events and holidays celebrated throughout the year.

A CHEER FOR THE YEAR opens with a tribute to New Year’s Day with the promise of shimmering icicles and snowy hills for sledding. As you turn the pages, the poems move through the months, sharing Raven’s sweet humor, appreciation, and love for each special event. The groundhog gets questioned whether spring will arrive early or whether winter will stick around. Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, Easter, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, and more, lead us to the next New Year’s celebration.

Title – A Cheer For The Year

Written by  –  Raven Howell

Illustrated by  – Meredith Messinger

Published – Clear Fork Publishing

Suitable for ages – up to 12

Topics – poetry, holidays, celebrations

Opening – The first poem, in celebration of New Year’s, begins…

New year’s Day, Frizzle frazzle, Shiver, shimmer, Razzle dazzle. Promises of snow that sticks…

and continues on, taking the reader for a high-paced sled ride where they greet a special snow friend.

Amazon Review HERE A Cheer for the Year offers a poetic calendar of holiday treats, the feeling you get when a friend presses a box of decadent chocolates in your hands, and you didn’t even know that’s what you were missing.

“A Cheer For the Year is an educational and fun collection of poems that weaves through seasons and holidays with a rhyme and colorful discovery on each page. Cleverly written, with illustrations that will delight children of all ages, this is a must have on any child’s bookshelf!”
– Jo Ann DiSalvo, Youth Services Programmer/Beekman Library

Why do I like this book? It’s a combination of factors, really. I love how Raven Howell always delights me with her poetry, finding unique moments to share through unexpected twists and seriously fun to say and read aloud words. Team up her poems with the playful, paper cut illustrations of Meredith Fern Messinger, that add an additional layer of surprise and delight to each page, and you’re holding a perfect picture book!

Learn more about Raven Howell HERE.

Learn more about Meredith Messinger HERE.

I invite you to visit me next week for The Monday Poems.


The Monday Poems Welcome Winter (and my squirrel).


Bob visits my back porch at 7:30 sharp. Like the white rabbit in the story of Alice in Wonderland, he’s prompt. When I walked into the kitchen this morning at 7:32, he peered in at me through the sliding glass door with his paws curled against his snowy chest. Seeing me, he took a few steps back and waited for the one thing he has counted on morning after morning…


The moment I slid open the glass door, he stepped back a few feet and calmly watched me sprinkle hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds into his blue, ceramic dish. Some mornings, I spoil him with small squares of bread spread with a thin layer of peanut butter…perfect to hold in his petite paws.

“Good morning, Bob,” I greeted him. “I trust you slept well?” He never answers.

The moment I closed the sliding glass door, Bob crept near and surveyed the morning’s offerings. With quick paws, he separated the crunchy almonds from the shelled seeds and settled inside the dish to nibble his breakfast. He seems to know I can’t disturb him through the glass and fills up his tummy with an occasional glance to me. I wonder if he knows how much happiness he brings.

My poem for today is a winter haiku inspired by Bob’s daily journey to my backporch.

Downy white blanket

Printed with tracks from small feet

Winter day pattern

by Leslie L Goodman

I’ll see you here next week for Perfect Picture Book Friday.