I purchased this book a while back because I ran across a good deal on the ebook version. It is on the Newbery Honor list, so I picked it up. I decided it fits the ATY 2019 Reading Challenge prompt #38, a book not written in traditional novel format. It isn’t even traditional poem format.
I didn’t realize just how unique the format of this book is when I purchased it. This is a collection of poems about a variety of insects – grasshoppers, honeybees, mayflies, and so on. Each poem is written in two columns, intended to be read aloud by two people. One individual reads the column on the left, one reads the column on the right. Some lines are read separately, some simultaneously.
I was so intrigued by the idea of two voices, I decided I had to hear it. I purchased an audio version of this book and listened to it in a single session. It’s a very short book, so this was not difficult to do. My favorite poem is “Whirligig Beetles”. So much fun!
I also wanted to try this for myself, so I invited my son to read this aloud with me. My son is nine years old, and is quite a competent reader. However, the poems in this collection do include words not commonly used by nine year olds. My son struggled a little bit with some of the words, making it a little cumbersome to read aloud. He found it a little annoying, he said, with the voices talking at the same time. To be fair, it does sound somewhat chaotic, but I think that’s what I liked about it.
I look forward to reading it with my other two sons one day. They seem to have more of a chaotic free-spirit about them than my analytical eldest.
While it isn’t impossible to enjoy a visual read through of this book, it is far more interesting to read out loud, or at least to listen to. This book is a very unique and enjoyable experience.