Ever pick up a book and think, that it looks like an “X kind-of” book? I did with One Dark Bird by Liz Garton Scanlon. It looked like it would either be a book of one long poem or each page would have a mini-poem on it. It was neither. And both.
This is mostly due to Fran Preston-Gannon’s cover illustration. This book just looks like a poetry book. There are bold, deep, rich colors. They are situated in such a way that they flow off the page… poetically. It is a painting you would have in a child nursery or even your guest bathroom. (Not to say it is crappy, but pleasant and relaxing). At the same time, the colors have warmth. It looks as if it could be set at sunrise or sunset and the bird on the cover lends itself to thoughts of flight and freedom (all popular subjects for poetry).
The story is a counting story. At first. But it is a nontraditional poem about the birds and how they gather and what they do. It is a book where you read the illustrations and they tell a story, too. The colors and art are stories in themselves. The whole book is poetic. It is something that honestly would take multiple readings to get everything about it.
This book cannot be told about, you must experience it. It evokes feelings and thoughts. And yet, it is just a story about counting the birds up to ten and then back to one. (Due in July 2019)