National Poetry Month Kid Lit Review of “Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems” Selected by Paul B. Janeczko


There are thirty-six very short poems in this collection, enhanced by stunning illustrations by Melissa Sweet.

The poems are divided into four sections, one for each season of the year. In Spring, for example, you will find this evocative gem by X. J. Kennedy:

for fish heads
like rusted


Summer features, inter alia, the title poem, “Firefly July” by J. Patrick Lewis:

“When I was ten, one summer night,
The baby stars that leapt
Among the trees like dimes of light,
I cupped, and capped, and kept.”


In Fall you will find this wonderful thought by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser:

“What is it the wind has lost
that she keeps looking for
under each leaf?”


What would winter be without some Carl Sandburg?

“The fog comes
on little cat feet.

it sits looking over harbor and city
on silent haunches and then moves on.”

You will find other beloved poets in this collection, including William Carlos Williams, Charlotte Zolotow, Langston Hughes, Robert Wallace, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Richard Wright.

Award-winning illustrator Melissa Sweet used watercolor, gouache and paper to create outstanding mixed-media collages representing the poems. Along with the poems, the artwork demonstrates how dominant colors and moods change throughout the year. Furthermore, the pictures are full of movement and whimsey and hidden delights. Each page is full of revelations, and lends understanding to the poetry as well.


Evaluation: This book is not to be missed, even if you don’t think you are an aficionado of poetry. The poems are short and pleasing, and the pictures are wonderful.

Rating: 5/5

Published by Candlewick Press, 2014



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4 Responses to National Poetry Month Kid Lit Review of “Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems” Selected by Paul B. Janeczko

  1. Ti says:

    Those illustrations are lovely.

  2. Belle Wong says:

    I really really want this book. That wind poem, by Harrison and Kooser – love!

  3. BermudaOnion says:

    I read this last year during Poetry Month and loved it too!

  4. sagustocox says:

    These illustrations are fantastic, and I cannot wait to get this from the library for my kiddo

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