picture book of the day, poetry for kids, Forest Has a Song, Amy Ludwig VanDerpool

Picture Book Poetry Collection for Spring

I met Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at KidLitCon a couple of years ago during a break out session called Poetry Friday. How I ended up in a poetry session indicates how in over my head I was at this conference full of children’s book bloggers. I had the feeling I used to get in Organic Chemistry class;  I have no idea what anyone is saying but just write everything down and hope to god that I can figure it out later.

How I Met Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

All that day, there were mysterious and overlapping acronyms thrown around. (I’m convinced that acronyms are the key for exclusion. They are a secret language of sorts).

ARC versus arc.

ARC = Advanced Release Copy versus an arc of a story. How confusing that they are both thrown around in a single day.

MG confused me too. Once I figured out MG = Middle Grade, I was still confused. Middle school versus Middle grade? There is no Middle grade school where I live!

I find poetry intimidating in general so when the nice women of Poetry Friday encouraged the blogger audience to participate in their weekly link up by composing a poem and then posting it, I thought, “Why not just get naked and sing karaoke to boot? Then my humiliation will be complete.”

They seemed like professional writers, for whom poetry is a skill they possessed from birth and have honed to lethal ability like MMA fighting. Frankly, I’d rather fight in a cage than write a poem. I think it would be less embarrassing.

Poetry Friday: Not So Scary After All

It was VanDerwater’s quiet encouragement from the Poetry Friday podium who made poetry seem — dare I say it? — fun. She coaxed by offering up her favorite rhyming word pairs. “Glove and dove,” she might have said. “I just really love these two words together.” (Her actual word pairs were more interesting.)

In breaking down poetry to simple pairs of rhyming words, she suddenly opened up a different and non-scary way of thinking about poetry. Just find word pairs that sound … nice. That sounded doable.

When I discovered that Amy had written a book — her first — I wanted to support her. She is, after all, the reason why I wrote a Spine poem!

In reading her book jacket bio, it did not surprise me that Amy teaches teachers about teaching writing. Poetry, no doubt, is her speciality!

A Lovely Picture Book Poetry Collection for Spring

Amy lives on a farm in Holland, New York and her debut picture book of poems celebrates the creatures and sounds of the forest. She uses a variety of poetry forms. I recognized that Dead Branch was a haiku.

The rest of the poems rhyme with a quiet resonance much like a pebble dropped into a pond. The poem stays with you long after you read it. You can tell that this book is a labor of love for both author and illustrator.

I think this is a perfect picture book to read in April to celebrate both the coming of spring and National Poetry Month.


Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

 (click on book to view at Amazon)

Forest Has a Song Trailer Read by Author

picture book of the day, poetry for kids, Forest Has a Song, Amy Ludwig VanDerpool


p.s. Forest Has A Song has received so many lovely reviews! Do you have a review? Link up here!


By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Lovely – thanks for another great share!
    Nancy recently posted…A Fix-It MorningMy Profile

  2. Mia,
    I am very grateful to you for sharing our book here at your site and so happy that we had the chance to connect at KidLitCon and now here. (Where might I find your Spine poem?) Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words, comparing the resonance of the rhyme to “a pebble dropped into a pond” is a poem in itself. Happy Poetry Month to you and to your readers!
    Amy Ludwig VanDerwater recently posted…Ways to Live on a Poetry FridayMy Profile

  3. This book looks lovely! Thanks for sharing this author with us!
    maryanne recently posted…World Culture for Kids: Freiburg, GermanyMy Profile

  4. Catherine Johnson

    I adore this poetry book, Mia. It’s wonderful to see it displayed everywhere. And your chemistry comment was hilarious, me too! I think you should get inspired on Pinterest and then write a poem, I’ll share it on my blog. Go on 😉 if I can do it anyone can.
    Catherine Johnson recently posted…Doors in the AirMy Profile

  5. Thanks for selecting this book. I can’t wait to read it. You might also want to check-out this great interview with the author at Sally’s Bookshelf. Sorry your blog wouldn’t allow me to share the link here.

  6. Ann

    Ooo! I have been seeing this book around and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy to check it out! It looks and sounds wonderful!
    Ann recently posted…SeesawMy Profile

  7. Hi, Mia! Not to laugh at your poetry pains or anything, but your post is hysterical. 🙂 I’m so glad Amy showed you how friendly and fun poetry actually is, and that you used that knowledge to create your spine poem — it’s a hoot!

    I love FOREST HAS A SONG (and Amy, for that matter). She’ll be on No Water River on Friday with a poetry video for “Puff” — I’ll have to come back and link to it!
    Renee LaTulippe recently posted…National Poetry Month: “Gulper Eel” by Kate CoombsMy Profile

    • Hi Renee,
      Isn’t Amy the nicest person ever?! How lucky that teachers can learn how to teach poetry from her? She has a gift! I really do appreciate the encouragement from other bloggers including you to make me less poetry paranoid. It does seem to be working LOL! Please do link up your post on Amy’s Puff video. I love her videos!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Mysteries Surrounding The Lemonade War SeriesMy Profile

  8. I was just reading a review of this book, it sounds lovely. Thanks for sharing at the Children’s Bookshelf.
    Erica recently posted…How to “Read” Wordless Picture Books {Parent Tips}My Profile

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