From School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-In the spirit of Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (HarperCollins, 1987), Gerber presents 18 poems with lines to be read aloud. The form allows readers to create energetic dialogues between the different animals, plants, and bugs featured in the verses. In an easy, kid-friendly fashion, the author explores relationships in nature and in the hidden intricacies of the world's ecological systems with poems about pollination, the purpose of roots, how bees collect nectar, and more. Most of the entries are whimsical, such as, "But our seeds will travel in the birds/and be dropped off in their doo" ("Bye, Bye, Berries"). End matter consists of a brief overview in prose of the concepts touched upon. Yelchin's bright, graphite and gouache illustrations are almost impressionistic; they catch the eye and complement the text well. This collection will educate youngsters while showing them a fun way to read poetry.-Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gerber’s 18 poems for two voices address the flora and fauna found in many backyard gardens. “Pansy and Poppy” commiserate about their heavy, soon-to-be-exploding seedpods; a bumblebee and a honeybee compliment each other on their differences; two caterpillars celebrate their favorite food, milkweed; and two green leaves complain about the icky, sticky trails deposited on them by snails. Yelchin’s colorful graphite-and-gouache artwork depicts sunny, upbeat scenes that sometimes belie the naturalistic content of the poems: a placid bunny patiently awaits a “New Shoot” and then devours it in one bite, and an attractive red cluster of “Bye, Bye, Berries” realize their seeds are destined for dispersal in bird doo. Although some of the meter feels forced (“Let’s get out of these coats. / I’m not ready. Please wait! / It’s easy. I’ll show you. / Watch me germinate”), the science is solid and the dual voicing makes these poems ideal for classroom performances. Pair with Joyce Sidman’s Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (2006) or Helen Frost’s Step Gently Out (2012). Grades 2-4. --Kay Weisman