Friday, December 31, 2010
Looking for Newbery - The Dark Emperor
It's always fun to follow favorite books of others online. It helps me keep books in my TBR pile at all times. :) So, when Jonathan and Nina at Heavy Medal ran their mock Newbery, and Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman was the almost run-away favorite, I knew I needed to make it one of the books I read during the #bookaday challenge that was happening on twitter during the holidays.
Luckily, Bill and I were headed to Cover to Cover on Tuesday, and my favorite bookstore had one more copy of Dark Emperor. I snatched it up!
This book doesn't fit the picture I have in my head of the kind of book that wins the Newbery award for three reasons: it's poetry, it's nonfiction, and it's a picture book. But when I began to read Dark Emperor, I was overwhelmed by the genius of Sidman's writing, and the layout of the book.
On every left side page of the book, there is a poem featuring a creature of the night. The words are beautiful and leave the reader wanting to read the poem with the gorgeous language again and again. Then on the right hand side, Sidman writes a nonfiction text that further explains information about that specific creature. I'm not a total fan of the darkness of the pictures (however, how could the pictures not be dark when the books has "night" in its title?) , but I believe that to win the Newbery, the text is the only thing the judges look at. If that is true, Sidman's writing is impeccable.
I'm so glad I own Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night if for no other reason that it is one of the most amazing nonfiction mentor texts I have come across in quite some time. What a wonderful book to share with students! I will watch with great interest to see what the Newbery committee thinks!