So Imagine Me: Nature Riddles in Poetry
Lynn Davies, illustrated by Chrissie Park-MacNeil
New Brunswick’s Lynn Davies and Chrissie Park-MacNeil were perhaps both inspired by the beauty of their home province to create this exquisite celebration of nature’s myriad wonders. Whatever their inspiration, their new children’s book is a unique and playful look at a random assortment of plants and animals.
Written as a series of poems, each poem is also a riddle that challenges young readers to determine “what am I?” The illustrations offer clues as well, inviting close inspection to assist with the deliberations. In several instances, the shape of the poem itself provides a hint. Filled with fun facts and interesting lesser-known details, this book presents the information in a way that encourages children to think about, and to see, the natural world in new ways.
In her first children’s book, Lynn Davies has crafted a wonderful selection of poems that not only entice youngsters to solve each riddle but to revel in the wonder of words. The element of interactivity the riddles provide is an excellent way to present information, inspiring readers to really think about all the details as parents and children pore over the poems and pictures to try to solve the mystery on each page.
The author has chosen her facts/clues carefully: there is a good mix of more easily identifiable details along with ones that will surprise readers (spoiler alert: this reader did not know that porcupines have five toes on their front feet but only four on their back feet!) But, as is true of any truly satisfying book of riddles, much of the success of these poem-riddles is due to the cleverness of the clue-construction, i.e. can the reader piece together the subtle hints to recognize what will seem obvious once they see the answer?
In this case, the author has created both enlightening and engaging poems as well as cleverly crafted clues. The illustrations, with their added visual clues, are also a key component to this book’s success. They are vibrant and lush, filled with colour and light. Teeming with energy, they beautifully capture the setting and landscape in which the particular plant or animal may be found and provide other observable hints.
Visually appealing, informative and fun, this is a perfect book to leave out for the whole family to enjoy.