Singer, Marilyn. Fireflies at Midnight. Ill. by Ken Robbins. New York: Atheneum Books, 2003. ISBN 0689824920.
2. PLOT SUMMARY
Fireflies at Midnight is a short collection of animal poems, each with a unique style and voice that takes the reader from the robin’s nest at dawn to the vole’s hole as he heads to sleep the following morning. Photographs, which have been expertly manipulated into striking artwork, complete the stillness or movement of each poem and help to set the mood as time moves through each poem.
3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Singer puts together a delightful collection of animal poems organized by time of day: starting at dawn and working from sunrise to sunrise – from the early rising to the last to go to bed. Her imagery in words flits and moves across the page giving the same tone and feeling as the animals she has paired with the time: the ants march “one and one and one and one” to their task, while the frog proclaims himself “baron I’m the baron” of his pond. Meter and verse shift just as seamlessly as the animals themselves from butterflies to lazy horses in the heat of the day. Coupled with Ken Robbins stylized and edited full color photographs, you can almost hear their unique voices as each animal shares their short moment with the reader.
4. REVIEW EXCERPT(S)
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNALS BEST BOOKS OF 2003
From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL – “Each spread contains a verse opposite an illustration of the featured animal in its environment. Robbins's "photographic treatments" use full-color, graphically enhanced photos and photo collage for an almost painterly effect. These portraits perfectly echo the tone of the poems as subjects soar, hide, flit, and sit.”
From BOOKLIST – “There's information about the animals subtly imbedded in many poems, such as these lines that follow the darting motion of a hunting bat: "I hear / I see / in waves of sound . . . I fly I find / I near / I seize."”
Gather other animal poetry books to read such as:
• Sidman, Joyce. Ills. Beckie Prange. SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN AND OTHER POND POEMS. ISBN 0618135472.
• Hauth, Katherine B. Ills. David Clark. WHAT’S FOR DINNER? QUIRKY, SQUIRMY POEMS FROM THE ANIMAL WORLD. ISBN 1570914710.
Gather other poetry books that highlight different themes by Marilyn Singer:
• Ills. Noah Z. Jones. THE SUPERHEROES EMPLOYMENT AGENCY. ISBN 0547435592.
• Ills. Josee Masse. MIRROR MIRROR: A BOOK OF REVERSIBLE VERSE. ISBN 0525479015.
• Ills. Gris Grimly. MONSTER MUSEUM. ISBN 078680520X.