Review of ‘Daniel Finds a Poem’ by Micha Archer

  • Cover of “Daniel Finds a Poem,” by Micha Archer. Courtesy of Micha Archer

  • Micha Archer, author of “Daniel Finds a Poem.” Courtesy of Micha Archer

Staff Writer
Saturday, April 01, 2017


By Micha Archer

Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House


Is there poetry in nature? Many people would say yes, including Daniel, the young protagonist of “Daniel Finds a Poem,” a picture book by Amherst artist Micha Archer.

Though she’s done illustrations for other children’s books and publications, “Daniel Finds a Poem” is the first book Archer has written.

It’s an impressive debut. A former art teacher, Archer has won the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for best new illustrator for her work on her story.

The award is named for the American children’s author and illustrator of “The Snowy Day,” a 1963 book considered a landmark in children’s literature. Keats was recognized for being one of the first children’s writers to bring multicultural themes to that genre.

In “Daniel Finds a Poem,” the young boy in question sees a sign at a city park advertising “Poetry in the Park” later that week. Not knowing what the term means, he asks a variety of critters — a spider, a squirrel, a frog and others — if they can explain it to him.

For the spider, poetry is when “morning dew glistens.” The squirrel finds it in the sound of crispy, crackling fall leaves. A turtle thinks of poetry as “sun-warmed sand.”

Indeed, as Daniel learns, poetry is all around you if you take the time to look and listen.

Archer’s illustrations, rich in color, are composed of oil, watercolors, pen and ink, and collage, and they’re sure to delight kids and adults alike.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.