Skip to main content

Swirl by Swirl, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Joyce Sidman winner of The Dark Emperor, author of the 2011 Newbery Honor book of nature poems and Beth Krommes, illustrator of the 2009 Caldecott Award winner The House in the Night, have teamed up to bring us a truly magnificent book that, with words and with illustrations, draws our attention to a simple, sometimes very small, shapes that occurs in nature, Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature, and makes you look at the world differently.

Sidman's short, poetic text starts intimately with, "A spiral is a snuggling shape. It fits neatly in small places." From there, she expands outwards to the ocean where the spiral becomes a growing shape, and through the forest then back to the ocean where, "A spiral reaches out, too, exploring the world. It winds around and around and around..." Eventually, the spiral expands out into the universe, only to return to a small, snuggling shape by the end of the book. Besides the beautiful simplicity of this book, both the text and the elegant illustrations, Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature is a wonder for the scope and size of the subject it takes on. This is exactly the kind of book you can read with a very young (or not) child then immediately begin to roam around your environs spotting spirals in nature and elsewhere. And it doesn't feel like what you might assume of a non-fiction book when you read Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature, it feels like a story. It also feels like a magic window into a secret part of nature. I can't think of the last time I have been this enamored of a picture book about nature! 

The House in the Night Cover


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…