Meanwhile, it's a pleasure to feature one of her more recent books here.
|Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015|
In OVER IN THE WETLANDS: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou, Rose applied her extensive writing talent and craft to a picture book that has all the hallmarks of a future classic. It is listed as an informational book for ages 3-8, but it's rhymed verse will appeal far beyond the very young and can serve as mentor text for writers of any age.
Its lyrical, rhythmic narration is perfectly enhanced by the illustrations of Rob Dunlavey. His website is worth a visit, offering a glimpse of his multi-faceted techniques and his mastery of nature illustration. You can view several spreads of his fluid, dense, and moody art from this book, depicting bayou scenes in various weather conditions and moods, here.
I've lived all my life in the part of the country often referred to as "tornado alley", but have no first-hand experiences with hurricanes. Nevertheless, I found the ebb and flow of each page turn provided immersive and emotional insights into the often-described process of hurricane development, destruction, "eye", resumption, and eventual resolution.
"Gentle as a whisper too soft to hear,
a faint breeze hints that a storm draws near."
smash up debris.
Turtles swim for safer seas."
The author's note in the back matter includes a map of Gulf wetlands, a simple introduction to issues surrounding the value and disappearance of wetlands, and suggested websites for exploring and finding answers to questions. Details about the animals in the narrative text are described in the "More about" page, providing immediate answers for younger readers and for the adults who will read this book to them- again and again.
This book is a perfect example of why I proclaim the POWER of picture books for readers of any/many ages. In one of my earliest posts I summarized that power as "3 C's":
That post was written five years ago. At that time the ubiquitous digital media was well established, but it was still several years before the current climate in which algorithms filter what we find on searches and what we see and read in social media. A picture book, especially one like this, invites and nearly demands that we PAUSE, peruse, and become mindful of the content. That includes its purpose, its validity, and its effect on our emotional and intellectual lives. It doesn't need to be "bookmarked", it refuses to be scanned or skimmed, and it expects us to return to it multiple times. Joyfully. Mindfully.
In this case, I know I will.