Blooming Beneath The Sun (Christina Rossetti & Ashley Bryan)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Blooming Beneath The Sun, a picture book featuring the work of 19th century poet Christina Rossetti and illustrations by Ashley Bryan.

Who has seen the wind? What is pink? Including 13 poems by Rossetti (plus a bonus poem that accompanies an informational paragraph about the poet), these are the questions and contemplations posed to young readers. Kid-friendly poems, none more than 16 lines in length, invite them to ponder peacocks, reflect on roosters, and wonder at the waves of an angry sea. Each poem is accompanied by a colorful, layered paper collage that brings its subject to life, and encourages further consideration.

Admittedly, I was not familiar with Rossetti’s work prior to reading this, but both JJ and I really enjoyed some of the poems that this mini-anthology has to offer; “Color”, “Wrens and Robins in the Hedge”, and “Where Innocent Bright-Eyed Daisies Are” were particular favorites. And Bryan’s beautifully intricate paper art is a marvelous companion to the poems, especially his bold choices concerning color, movement, and layout. However, the often-counterintuitive rhythms of the 1800’s poems make more than a few of them challenging to read at first pass, especially where rhymes are far better suited to the British pronunciation of words. There’s also the vaguely sexist undertones of poems like “If I Were A Queen” and “Mother Shake The Cherry Tree”, indicative of the time period in which they were written, to consider. The length was fine for a single sitting, and JJ loved the colorful art. Not sure if this one will go down as a favorite of ours, but it definitely has some gems to offer, and as such, is worth a look. So overall, Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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