Saturday, April 15, 2023

*Review* Today I Am A River by Kate Coombs


Genre: Children's 4-8 years
Published: April 18, 2023
Pages: 37

Bright, lyrical poems and lovely illustrations encourage children to immerse themselves in the natural world.
Today I am sunlight!
Heart happy,
as a yellow bird
flying to the top
of the sky,
shining and calling
I am sunlight!

Beautiful poetry and entrancing art inspire young readers to celebrate the natural world through movement, imagination, and play. As they pretend they are a skunk or a snake, sunlight or a stone, they will move their bodies and enjoy imaginative play.

From the creative team who brought you 
Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems comes a perfect book for quiet time or bedtime, as well to spark activities for story time or in the classroom. Today I Am a River empowers children to imagine the world from a multitude of perspectives other than their own and instills in them an appreciation and reverence for the natural world.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

These poems do not rhyme. I was a creative writing major before I dropped out of college (thanks Depression), so I'm well aware that poems don't have to rhyme. That being said, I feel like in a book targeted towards children, rhyming is kind of a big deal to encourage engagement. I think about how fun Shel Silverstein's poems were to read as a kid and how some of those have really stuck with me (like Boa Constrictor). While these poems did get me using my imagination in regards to nature, I'm just not sure a kid would find them interesting enough to want to read them again, or attempt to write their own nature inspired poems (although the lack of rhyming would at least make that endeavor seem less daunting). 

The illustrations were whimsical and colorful, taking me to nature from my cubicle at work (I was on lunch). They were as varied as the poems were. While I'd be okay reading this book a few times to a children, as I mentioned before, I'm not sure a kid would really be that interested in a repeat. Overall I give this book 3.87 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Kate Coombs is the author of many books, including three poetry collections: Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness PoemsMonster School, and Water Sings Blue, which won the national Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and got four-starred reviews. She has also written middle grade books, picture books, and numerous board books. Kate lives in Bountiful, Utah, where she teaches college English and works with struggling readers. Kate loves nature, especially clouds, seashells, and frogs.

Anna Emilia Laitinen studied graphic design and illustration in Finland and Iceland. She has illustrated books, stationery, tableware, and textiles. She is the illustrator of many children’s books published in her native Finland, as well as Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems. Anna Emilia’s favorite color is the northern winter sky during sunset, and her favorite sound is waking up in a tent in a forest full of singing birds. For more, visit

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