Through the Flowery Fence: Adventures in Florida.


Step into the vibrant world of magic and sunlight in this collection of wildly imaginative poetry for children. Discover the peacocks of Genius Drive, dance with fireflies and swim with elves in this journey Through the Flowery Fence.




Broughton’s poems for young readers explore the Florida landscape in a celebration of nature.


Whether on a boat or on the beach, the narrators of these rhyming poems enjoy the rich environment of Florida. The author’s verses meander through neighborhoods where sprinklers startle the birds (“The Night Sprinkler”), into the wilds where black panthers hide (“The Black Panther”), and among the tall waves that crash on the beach: “I’m not a good surfer / And waves come and go. / I’ll wait for a small one, / Then go with the flow” (“A Sea View”). Humans feature in a few of the poems, such as “The Grand Seafood Meal,” in which the narrator’s father orders a huge meal of seafood, and “Fluttering Strangers,” which whimsically muses on “snowbirds” who come south for the winter. The perplexing title poem offers a metaphorical look at a fence overgrown with flowers, its gate hidden, and a family that endeavors to escape their own yard for a flower show. Though much of the vocabulary is accessible to young readers, there are elements likely to appeal to adults, including “The Sleepy Awning,” an account of a mended awning that still crashes down on a sleepy porch sitter.

While some of the poems take a moment to find their rhyme and rhythm, the wordplay is solid throughout, and the varied topics offer plenty of sunshiny charm. Ross’ painterly illustrations alternate between cartoonish depictions and more realistic ones. Shadowy silhouettes of a black panther or fireflies studding the night sky create compositions more focused on shapes and color than details, while the depiction of Ernest Hemingway’s house and its cats focuses on the realism of that location. The birds in “The Night Sprinkler,” on the other hand, have a Disney-like look, and the combination of an alligator and an escalator eschews realism to capture the humor of its corresponding poem, “The Gator Escalator.” While the style varies, the tone of each illustration matches the poem that inspired it, giving a sense of cohesion throughout.


An engaging collection of verses that guides readers through a tour of the Sunshine Sta





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