Dancing with the Moon and Stars
by Sylvia Stern
LitFire Publishing

"Careful now, let the bubble flow.
Only a little bubble, don’t pout.
You’ll always have another try."

The speaker in the poems is undoubtedly a dreamer, often lost in the changing shapes of clouds as though in a trance. Poems like “Riding on a Cloud” and “DOES THE RAIN MAKE YOU LAUGH?” are simple yet profound as they explore both the feeling of being free to soar above the world unobstructed and the sheer exhilaration of jumping over puddles and spotting rainbows on a rainy day. The personification of nature is authentic; readers will feel the hide-and-seek between the clouds and the sun and connect with the pitter patter of rhythmical raindrop chatter.

At times, the speaker’s vantage point is from a child’s eye, as in “Can You Taste the Sky?” where the sun is melted butter, the moon a ball of cheese, and clouds taste like whipped vanilla cream. In other poems, like “The Cold Winter Moon,” the speaker takes on a maternal role toward nature, determined to knit the winter moon a cap.

Stylistically, Stern has a strong command of language, as evidenced by her use of enjambment in “Sprinkles of Rain.” There is a strong focus on seasonal imagery such as the leaves changing in the fall. Though the latter portion of the compilation contains an ode to numerous insects, the poem that stands out is “When I Danced with the Stars.” Conjuring the image of jumping from star to star as though they are tiles on the dance floor delivers a soothing serenity that is not readily noticeable in real life. The exceedingly whimsical nature of the poetry, when combined with illustrations that exude vibrancy, positivity, and, most importantly, joy, quickly (and delightfully) reel the reader away from reality.

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