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

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