AN EGRET’S DAY
Photographs by Jason Stemple
The fourteenth book that my photographer son Jason and I have done together, I think it is one of my favorites. The photographs—as always—are stunning and the design elements have matched the elegance of both Jason’s pictures and the bird itself. The poems are varied in kind (there’s even a limerick!) but as they are all about the same kind of bird, the subject matter is about such things as plumage, preening, nesting, food, etc.
- An Egret’s Day was just named an Honor Book for the 2010 National Outdoor Book Awards.
Around the web:
- Jason talks about the book at: http://charlestonscphotoblog.com/ scroll down to 11/20/09.
What reviewers have said:
- “Jane Yolen has done it yet again. Truthfully, I cannot imagine a Yolen book that I would not recommend. Author of over three hundred books and recipient of numerous awards, Yolen simply knows how to write well and how to entertain her audience. An Egret’s Day is no exception. With each turn of the page, the reader discovers an interesting fact about egrets and a poem by Yolen addressing that fact. The poems are well crafted to roll off the tongue and make reading this collection aloud a pleasure. Gorgeous photographs by Yolen’s son, Jason Stemple, accompany each poem and complement its theme. Subjects include egret food, flight, preening, plumes, heads and beaks, feet, gender, size, nests, and roosting habits. An Egret’s Day provides a great opportunity to introduce poetry to a child interested in nature. Similarly, those who enjoy language, rhyme and rhythm will learn about a very interesting bird. Indeed, adults and children alike will gain a new appreciation for these beautiful creatures.”—Sacramento Book Review
- *STARRED REVIEW* “Poetry and short informative paragraphs combine to celebrate both the elegance and the natural history of the American egret.. . .Gorgeous photography completes this carefully designed literary science piece with scenes of the egret’s daily life. Stemple captures the egret’s movements as the light of each part of the day, from the yellow-orange glow of sunrise to midday pink to late afternoon sunset blue to evening purple, is reflected on its snow-white feathers. . . A stunning combination of scientific and ecological knowledge offered through a graceful fusion of lyrical and visual media.”—Kirkus
- “Stunning full-color photographs illustrate such topics as preening, plumes, flight, size, and nesting. For example, “On the Hunt/What Do Egrets Eat?” informs readers that egrets are known as “ambush predators” that silently wait for their prey to come to them. This characteristic is poetically described as, “He is a world-class waiter,/Waiting (and wading)/In the muddied water/Till a shadow below/Lets him know that a fish/Is near. Then SPLISH-/SPLASH, that knife-sharp beak/breaks the surface/and brings back a surfeit:/Breakfast, lunch, dinner./Almost every strike a winner.” The accompanying three photographs show the bird wading, striking and splashing the water, and holding a captured fish in its beak. . . . Every spread features an informative paragraph, a vivid poem, and photographs sparkling with glossy details.”—School Library Journal
- “It’s like Poetry Friday and Non-Fiction Monday combined! Beautiful, detailed photographs of these amazing birds share space with poetry by one of the most well known authors/poets of our time, Jane Yolen, making for a really spectacular overall book.”–A Patchwork of Books
- “As the title suggests the finely-crafted poems follow egrets from morning through evening and provide thoughtful observation. “Close-up” begins “As conscious of his beauty/As any Hollywood star,/The egret poses.” and is accompanied by a head-and-shoulders shot of the bird, white feathers tinted with a rosy glow. The image, words and design work beautifully together. This is Yolen’s and Stemple’s fourteenth book together and they are a fine team.”—We Love Children’s Books
- “I had to do a double-take when I read “photographs by” on the cover of this book. The colors are so vibrant, so utterly perfect, I figured it was an illustration. Oh but no, the book is filled, from cover to cover, with impeccable images of egrets. My favorite is the close-up of the feathered wing. So I did pick out this book based on the cover. As it was written by Jane Yolen, I had no doubt that I would be thoroughly taken by the words. And I was. How in the world does she do it? Isn’t it enough to be able to write entertaining children’s books? No, Ms. Yolen, as usual, goes above and beyond. She is able to take facts, interesting though they may be, and weave them into entertaining yet informational poetry. Just to make sure the information comes across, brief blurbs about the birds are added to each page. And even they are written with poetic flair. This book has sealed Jane Yolen as the “godmother of children’s literature” in my mind. And I won’t forget she writes for young adults and adults as well.
Did I mention that author and photographer are mother and son? Talent runs deep in this family!”—Kids Reads