Friday, January 12, 2018

Flutter and Hum Animal Poems (Julie Paschkis)

Author:  Julie Paschkis

Illustrator:  Julie Paschkis

Target Ages:  

Genre:  Bilingual Poetry

Publisher Summary:  All sorts of animals flutter and hum, dance and stretch, and slither and leap their way through this joyful collection of poems in English and Spanish. Julie Paschkis’s poems and art sing in both languages, bringing out the beauty and the playfulness of the animal world.

Todas los animals aletean y zumban, bailan y se estiran, y tambien se deslizan y saltan por todos los poemas alegres de esta coleccion en ingles y espanol.  Los poemas y el arte de Julie Paschkis cantan en los dos idiomas, resaltando la bellezo y lo gracioso del mundo animals.

Example Poems and Pages:

Favorite Poem:

The moon is a lantern
in the branches.
A shimmer.

A shadow whistles
through the grass.
A whisper.

Out of the darkness
an owl hoots.
An echo.

The night train
is leaving.

“El Buho”
La luna es un farol
en las ramas.

Silba una sombra
por las hierbas.
Un susurro.

De la ascuridad
ulula un buho.
Un eco.

El tren de la noche
esta saliendo.

Flutter and Hum is a stunning!  In concept.  In language.  In illustrations. 

The author’s approach was to first write the poems in Spanish, which is notable because she is not a native speaker.  As she composed, she reveals she “felt like a visitor wandering through the forest of Spanish words, marveling at the beauty of sound, meaning, and syntax.”  Then, she translated them into English.   However, they are not all translated word-for-word.  Sometimes, she “used the phrase that worked best in each language to convey the same meaning.”  The result is a beautiful collection of poems that native people in both languages will appreciate.

The collection is a celebration of language—both in the poems themselves as well as the added words on each page.  I love lines like “Slithering through the grass the sinuous snake is writing a slippery poem with his body” and “Your bed is like a small boat.  Your dreams are the sea where the boat floats.”  Paschkis adds to these lines, and all the other poems, words in both Spanish and English in the illustrations.  For instance, the “Snake” poem has lyrical words like “sway,” “serpentine,” and “swerve” in the grass while in the “Fish” one includes words like “longing,” “linger,” and “listen” in the sea.  The additional words add to the poems and their meaning. 

The illustrations are striking!  Intricate details and bold colors fill each two page spread.  They vary in purpose.  Sometimes they mirror each other like in “Dog,” but other times they add to the storytelling of the poem such as in “Owl,” where the night train leaving appears to be a metaphor for the owl (whose sound is like a night train) leaving the tree. 

Flutter and Hum is ideal for teachers seeking diverse books for their classroom and for parents teaching their children to be bilingual. However, anyone who enjoys poetry, language, and beauty will enjoy it.  I highly recommend this collection of poems and gorgeous illustrations. 

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  1. Julie Paschkis is a gem - I love all her books. This one, I have yet to find. Thank you for reminding me. Happy New Year!

    1. I agree. She is a fantastic writer and illustrator!

  2. I love that this is a book that won the 2015 Cybil's, one I adore, and now one that is so important with its dual-language poems. It is a favorite!

  3. Irene needs this one in the collection she shared this week!

  4. What a beautiful book! The illustrations seem to match the poems so perfectly, what a wonderful celebration of two languages!

  5. I'm adding this Julie Paschkis book to my list. :-)


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