Book Reviews

So many books. So little time.

THIS IS A POEM that heals fish by Jean-Pierre Simeon

This earth is a magical place. Beauty comes to us from all angles, in all forms. Sometimes, in the form of a simply-written, but not simple, picture book that carries within a profound truth. An eye-opening book that is a true gift to readers. As Grandma says in the story,

"A poem
is words turned upside down
and suddenly!
the world is new."

Arthur goes looking for a poem because that is what will save Leon from dying of boredom. The answers he gets tell him what a poem is, but do not give him A poem. You know dear reader, one poem, like From A Railway Carriage, or The Owl and The Pussycat, or any of the poems we are all familiar with. He returns.

"—I'm sorry Leon,
I have not found a poem."

Really Arthur? What else is the beautiful song you sing to Leon of all the answers strung together, if not a poem of poems? Even your fish understands that, and in that understanding he is healed.

"Leon opens one eye, then the other, and for the first time in his life he speaks,
—Then I am a poet Arthur.
—Oh…?
—And my poem is my silence."

In this simple style the author shows that all of life is song, is poetry particular to the person. Each person has a poem within, just not a one-size-fits-all. Every answer Arthur gets is an expression of that person’s truth. The youngest of readers will enjoy the apparent silliness of the answers:

"—A poem, Arthur, is when you…have the sky in your mouth."
"—A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone."
"—A poem is when words beat their wings."
"—Oh…? Okay," they will ponder as Arthur does, and so unsuspectingly learn what a poem is, and what it does.

Title: THIS IS A POEM that heals fish

Author: Jean-Pierre Simeon

Illustrator: Olivier Tallec

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Hardback: 44 pages

ISBN: 978-1-59270-067-7