by Susan Blackaby
Charlesbridge, 2010. 49 pages. Poetry.
Baldly stated, these are poems about habitat. But Blackaby's true subject is home--where animals live and move and have their being. Divided into Desert, Grassland, Shoreline, Wetland, and Woodland, Nest, Nook & Cranny brings hares, hawks, herons, and sea otters to imaginative life: "Otters loll like whiskered boats/ Bobbing gently in the swells./Kelp beds help the otters float/ While prying shellfish out of shells./Thoughtful otters dot the ocean,/ Heads awash with crabby notions./ What prey, tell, do otters dwell on?/ Anything that has a shell on."
Blackaby's sophistication of rhyme scheme, wordplay, and sound patterns makes these poems that children may enjoy better read aloud. Helpfully appended are discussions about each animal portrayed, and about her poetic constructs, including a than-bauk, a triolet, and a Shakespearean sonnet. Lovely spare line drawings by Jamie Hogan enhance and complement the poems.