• Sarah Tobias

Firefly July — Perfect Picture Book Friday


Title: Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems

Selected by: Paul B. Janeczko

Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet

Published by: Candlewick Press, 2014


For: All Ages


This book of poems takes you through all the seasons, in the city and in the country, during the day and into the night.


Themes: Seasons, Poetry, nature, metaphor, day and night





Opening Poem:

Daybreak reminds us —

the hills have arrived

just in time to celebrate.

poem by Cid Corman


Why I believe you will love this book:

I am not sure how I learned about this book. That's a little scary because it was recently that I saw, watched, or read something that shared the title or a poem. Social media and webinars are mixing together in my brain. But really it doesn't matter. I am so glad that I was introduced to the book and then purchased a copy for myself.


The little poems are filled with metaphors, idioms, and such lovely evocative language. Then you take time to look at the illustrations and you can hang on each page for long periods of time. The color palettes and collage provide so many details to look at and figure out. Melissa uses watercolor, pencil, colored pencil, cut paper, tissue paper and decorative paper. So much fun!



The poems take you through the seasons and between day and night.

The poem Water Lily by Ralph Fletcher is a mask poem.

Other poems are like beautiful descriptions of a tiny moment or place invoking the senses of the reader.


If I were a teacher or librarian I would share poems from this book throughout the school year. If I had small children, I would read the poems at bedtime and send the kids to sleep ready to dream of a lovely world.


Activities and Resources:

* Make a collage. Try out a variety of materials.

* Write a short poem about something that you notice.


I wrote this quick one today on my walk:


To Fly Like the Turkey Vultures

I wish that I could soar

on the currents of the breeze.

Wings spread wide --

rising up, up, up

until I am just a speck

in the vast blue sky.

by Sarah Tobias, 2020


* Take a walk and see what you notice. Take some pictures so you can look back and create your poem and make your art.


* Keep a journal through the seasons of your poems and art. (That would make a beautiful gift for a special person or just for you. There are lots of places where you can make a book of your own.)


* Teachers can use this book to build language skills, develop lyrical language, help teach metaphor, and for poetry units.



* Learn more about fireflies.


* Support your Local Indie Bookstore when you purchase a book.

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