The Sky Is Not So Far Away Review

theskyisnotsofarawayThe Sky Is Not So Far Away: Night Poems for Childrenby Margaret Hillert, illustrated by Thomas Werner

Wordsong, 1996. 978-1563972232.

Synopsis: A anthology of poetry captures the delight a child feels when the normal bedtime routine is suspended to enjoy special outings, such as skating at night on a frozen pond or going to see the exotic animals and acrobats in a circus. – from Amazon.com

Why I picked it up: The title sort of captured the feeling of smallness and wonder I feel when I look up at the night sky.

Why I finished it: At first read, this collection seemed a little mature to me, but after reading through them a second time, I realize that though the book is for children, the poems have appeal for readers of all ages. True, some of the subjects seem a bit juvenile, but Hillert is capturing the wonder of childhood and the thrill of our imaginations, something that I feel like we lose as we get older. I don’t know of many adults that go out to play hide and seek in the dark or go out to catch fireflies, but for adults the collection draws on our memories of being young and more carefree. My favorite poems were ‘Rain at Night’, ‘Night Snow’ and ‘Night Sky’ because they capture some of the moments of silence that we experience while the sun is asleep and the moments that cause us to think about the wonders of nature. Werner’s illustrations wonderfully encapsulate the emotion of the poems and help us visualize the poems in a way that gives greater breadth and depth to the work. It’s a thought-provoking collection that can be shared by readers of all ages.

Other related materials: If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries: Poems for Children and their Parents by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lynne Cherry; A Child’s Introduction to Poetry by Michael Driscoll, illustrated by Meredith Hamilton; Knock at a Star: A Child’s Introduction to Poetry by X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy, illustrated by Karen Lee Baker; A Child’s Anthology of Poetry edited by Elizabeth Hauge Sword, illustrated by Tom Pohrt; The Children’s Classic Poetry Collection: 60 Poems by the World’s Greatest Writers edited by Nicola Baxter, illustrated by Cathie Shuttleworth; And The Green Grass Grew All Around: Folk Poetry from Everyone by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Sue Truesdell; Once, I Laughed My Socks Off: Poems for Kids by Steve Attewell; One Hundred Years of Poetry for Children edited by Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark; The Kingfisher Book of Children’s Poetry selected by Michael Rosen

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