­Welcome to the Wonder House

­Wordsong. Jul. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781635927627.
Gr 4-6–A stellar collection of 29 brief poems and numerous mixed-media illustrations. Arranged into 12 “rooms,” topics range from curiosity and wishes to science, nature, and ordinary things. Lyrical free verse captivates with rich imagery and language. In “Room of Praise,” poems limn the qualities of rain, paper, and web-spinning spiders, described as “quiet as air, patient as monks.” Crisp and concise, with internal rhymes and alliteration, these poems beg to be shared and read aloud. Freedman’s illustrations complement and add whimsical details, including a stargazing penguin and a scaly, red dragon glimpsed amidst a jumble of blocks. In “Room of Creatures,” a murky underwater scene features a sleepy dolphin and the tentacles of an otherwise unseen octopus. A concluding note suggests that readers “look and listen to the ordinary and extraordinary all around you. You’ll find wonder everywhere.”
VERDICT Thoughtful readers will relish the figurative language and imagery, and pore over the well-crafted illustrations. An excellent resource for teachers looking to inspire students in an array of topics, from science and nature studies to creative writing.

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