HMH Books for Young Readers, 2010. 978-0547152288
2011 Newbery Honor Book
Synopsis: Welcome to the night, where mice stir and furry moths flutter. Where snails spiral into shells as orb spiders circle in silk. Where the roots of oak trees recover and repair from their time in the light. Where the porcupette eats delicacies—raspberry leaves!—and coos and sings. Come out to the cool, night wood, and buzz and hoot and howl—but do beware of the great horned owl—for it’s wild and it’s windy way out in the woods! – from Amazon.com
Why I picked it up: It caught my eye while I was looking for Newbery winners.
Why I finished it: Sidman is a gifted and prolific poet that has written on a number of different subjects in nature and this book is a wonderful example of poetry telling a story. This particular story begins with the setting of the sun and tells the reader about the vibrant nightlife of a forest through poetry, prose, and paintings by Rick Allen. Each poem gives each animal, insect, and tree in the forest its own voice, its own chance to tell the reader more about the vibrant activities in which they engage while we are asleep. The double-page spread with biology facts add an educational element to the poetry and help to showcase Allen’s dense, dark, forested art. Whimsical and informative, Dark Emperor engages the reader and guides them through the dark of the night and into the glory of a new day.
Other related materials: Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange; Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes; Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes; Red Sings from the Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski; Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Michelle Berg; Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange; Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Eric Beddows; I am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Ken Nutt; Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs that Squeak, Soar, and Roar! by J. Patrick Lewis; The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury selected by Jack Prelusky, illustrations by Meilo So