Title: In the Night, Still Dark
Author: Richard Lewis
Illustrator: Ed Young
Number of Pages: 28
Pub. Date: 1988
Summary: This is a book of poetry about animals in the night. The poem is actually an extensive abridgement of a Hawaiian creation chant called the Kumulipo that, on a deeper level, represents the indigenous people’s concept of evolution. It has a repeating sequence of ‘there came the’ and then the animal’s name and usually a descriptor. Many animals are mentioned, starting with small animals in the sea like the mussel, then continuing to small land animals and then bigger animals. Eventually humans arrive and day breaks. Illustrations that look like the animals in the dark accompany the poem.
|The full chant|
Critique: The two most prominent elements of poetry in this poem are rhythm and imagery. The poem comes from a Hawaiian chat, so it flows very well and feels as if the reader is being moved along the creation of all of these creatures, but it’s dark so it’s calm and quiet. It has more of a flowing song feel than a specific foot-stomping beat, but it really works for the poem. From a vocabulary standpoint, it uses some wording that might be a little difficult for young children, like ‘lurking shark,’ but they could still look at the pictures and most of the stanzas.
Response: Judging from the cover of the book, I did not expect this poem to be about evolution. I expected a poem about night time activities, maybe the stars in the sky, but this was a new kind of poem for me. It had great flow and was very unique.