All Ears, All Eyes, (Atheneum) by Richard Jackson and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson is a special book. Every page of it is a gorgeous, with vivid, blurred color and hidden images–an analogy for the wild world. The rhyming text contains interesting and unexpected rhythms. It focuses, briefly, on many nocturnal animals–owls, bats, raccoons, flying squirrels and more. The text is lovely:
Comes a breeze–they bend and bow–and behind these, beyond those deep in the dark, near to brimming now, Nature’s ark glows…
I wonder, though, if this is more a book for adults than children. Yes, it is gorgeous. Yes, it conjures images in our minds, (though that’s hardly necessary, given the visuals here) but what does it teach children about the natural world?
This is a book that begs to be poured over again and again, so that children can find the abstracted animals on the pages, and listen to the beauty of language. It would be wonderful in the home–a terrific bedtime read. In a teaching setting, it could be paired with another book about nocturnal animals–perhaps this one to follow another, so that children know what is being referred to in this book, given what they have learned in a previous one. Regardless of how it’s used, it’s an undeniable treat for the eyes and the ears that nature lovers will embrace!
Grades Pre-K – 3