Cover of Least Things by Jane Yolen and Jason Stemple

Least Things

LEAST THINGS began when I read the quote, “Nature excels in her least things.” I told my photographer son Jason and he began taking photos of nature’s smallest things–jingle shells, tiny crabs, butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, etc. Slowly he gathered his photographs but I had an enormous amount of trouble writing the poems. The first two I tried were for the shells and the crab, and they were dreadful–and twice as long as the objects he had photographed! And then one day I sat up in bed and said, “Of course, haiku!” Why it took me so long to realize that haiku were the perfect form for the book, I don’t know. But once I had that figured out, I could sit down and finally really focus on the book.

See what Jason said about this book.

What reviewers have said:

  • “A solid addition to the poetry of science, and the science in poetry, for younger fans of both.” — Kirkus
  • “The subject matter, the eye-catching photographs, and the brevity of the selections will appeal to younger children. Older children, especially those who are studying haiku, will enjoy the wordplay and imagery… A first purchase with broad appeal.” — School Library Journal
  • “The author’s warm, cozy words create a sense of personal acquaintance with each creature, making this collection an essential for every teacher’s personal library.” — Childhood Education
  • “Tiny creatures such as tree frogs and grasshoppers come to light through the most economical of forms-haiku-as in this ode to the hummingbird: “Do hummingbirds dream/ Of soaring on eagle wings?/ Just for a moment.” A few sentences of factual information follow each poem, and a full-bleed spread highlights a crisply realistic photo in this handsomely designed volume.”-PW
  • “Yolen collaborated with her son on this book inspired by a quote from Pliny: “Nature excels in the least things.” Fourteen haikus celebrate small insects and animals and are accompanied by large color photographs and nonfiction paragraphs. Have students take digital photos of animals, create their own haikus, and write nonfiction about them.” –BookLinks
  • “I love Jane Yolen because she is such a beautiful writer no matter what genre she writes in. This is no exception. She takes her son’s stunning photographs of things in nature and writes haiku about them. Also included is factual information about the animal in the photograph. This is a feast for the eyes and the poet’s heart.”—World of Words