Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman

"Welcome to the Night," reads the first page. "Creepy crawlers, flutters,dip and dodge, cool and shadowed breeze, rough bark, dappled dark, wild and enchanted park. Welcome to the Night." Joyce Sidman, the author of Dark Emperor, won the Newberry Honor Award for this book. Like many other books she has written, the author uses the poems with a definition of each nocturnal animal or "thing" in the found in the forest. The poem is located on one page and the defined animal is on the other side of the full bleed page. Instead of looking at one page and then the next, the reader flips the page and see's one large portayal of an animal/object.

Twelve poems about....Snails unhooking themselves from the earth, Primrose Moth's unfolding in the evening, hooked-faced Dark Emperor, Oak (tree) stretching its roots in the ground, Night-Spider's eating triumphs and mistakes, Porcupette (baby porcupine) raising its quills if necessary, Crickets (napping, gnawing, and singing), Mushrooms spreading their damp umbrella tops, Efts crawling over roots, Bats swooping up bugs then flipping upside down on a branch to rest, and the Moon brightly lighting up the sky.

The reader reads a fun poem about the above animals and such and then can read a definition and additional information about each one. Another fantastic way for children to learn and have fun doing it. Science and literature collide!

The illustrations, provided by Rick Allen, are detailed and dark - which is perfect for this nocturnal reference book/poem book. Rick Allen is a wildlife artist.
The illustrations for this book are all relief prints made from
linoleum blocks. Relief prints can be made from a wide variety of
materials, but all are created by removing material from the block and
leaving an inkable surface behind for printing.

I was somewhat surprised to read this book and find out that Dark Emperor was just one of the many animals in this book. Maybe one of the biggest threats in the food chain could be the reason the owl was chosen for the title.


  1. It was interesting to read the information regarding Rick Allen--especially from your second link. Do you think your first link leads to the correct person? I came across the site you linked when I researched Rick Allen, but did not feel it was him. I found it odd that he had no mention of the book on his site. Also, I didn't feel the illustrations in the book matched the ones shown on the website. To me, it did not add up. Through reading more, I found out he runs Kenspeckle Letterpress. Here is the website that was mentioned in the book under his name: . There is a blog that provides more information about Rick Allen if you click on the tab labeled, "Blogspeckle."

  2. I agree that this book is a great way to integrate literature with content. I am excited to find more literature that can be integrated with the content area.