With so many beautiful books with lyrical texts published this year, it’s hard to pick one as the best of this season. But we chose anyway. Kudos to “Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright,” a large, lavishly-illustrated anthology composed of an animal poem for each day of the year. Poetry spans a few centuries from the Seneca nation of Indians, along with contemporary writers including William Blake (That Tiger! Tiger!), Lewis Carroll and Emily Dickinson, to Judith Voorst, Margaret Wise Brown and Jane Yolen. Cheyenne and Chippewa tribes.
Oh, and what wonderful, lively, fish, birds and animals fly, strut, jump, jump and swim across the pages: buffalo, bird, kangaroo. You’ll probably find a poem about whatever animal is your favorite.
The special thing about this 4.5-pound book is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Even young children who are meant to be read can laugh at short poems like this eponymous poem titled “The Grasshopper and the Elephant”:
south side where bananas grow
YesThe racehopper stepped on the toe of the elephant.
The elephant said with tears in its eyes:
“Choose someone your size.”
If you had this book in your lap now (and that’s the only way to hold it), and turn to December, you’ll find poems by William Carlos Williams, Thomas Hardy, and Stephen Spender.
The three-verse poem for December 19 is “The Yak” by Jack Prelutsky, former Poetry Foundation Children’s Poet Laureate:
Yak has a scrifly, scrafly back;
Some yaks are brown yaks and some yaks are black,
“Tiger, Tiger” follows the award-winning “I Am the Seed That Grave the Tree,” 365 poems about nature. The new volume, published in the United Kingdom last year, is now making its first appearance in the United States for $40. It is published here by Nosy Crow, a division of Candlewick Press. The poems were selected by bookseller, author, publisher and critic Fiona Waters, and the stunning illustrations are by Britta Tekentrup. He did a wonderful job.
We hope this book is a good fit for every book we recommend in 2021. We thank our devoted readers and those who have just visited us. May your holidays be bright.