“Forest Has a Song” offers an opportunity to combine our love of natural places with poetry.  Consider using this dear book as a springboard for writing a Mask Poem with your children.  A mask poem is one that is written from the point of view of an animal, an object or even a person.  Honor a natural environment you treasure by giving it a voice.


Poems by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Illustrations by Robbin Gorley

“The imagery is fresh and original; it’s accessible, too. Watercolor images of each poem’s subject add to the appeal.”—Kirkus

This treasure is a collection of 26 poems about the flora, fauna, and seasons of the forest.  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater uses a variety of poetic forms to celebrate the music of the forest.  She opens with “The Invitation” which is a Mask Poem.


I heard
a pinecone fall.
I smell
a spicy breeze.
I see
wildly waving
rows of
friendly trees.
I’m here.
Come visit.   Please.


Meet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater……….

“I live in Holland, New York with my husband Mark and sometimes, our three college-age children:  Hope, Georgia, and Henry. Our old farmhouse is bordered by field and forest, and we like to laugh and share books we love. “

Here she is reading one of her poems from “Forest Has a Song”

“Forest Has a Song” is written as a series of forest visits at different times of year and focus on the large, as in the opening “Invitation” and the small –fiddleheads,lichens, a cardinal, a squirrel.

Writing your Mask Poem

Imagine you are visiting your favorite natural environment…the forest, the beach, the desert, the plains, a canyon.  Pick something from that place and create your poem written from the point of view of something you would find there. Give that  place or thing a voice to talk to the reader.   “The Invitation” is the voice of the forest inviting you to come for a visit.



Our moon provides my rhythm
As tides ebb and flow.
Waves wash over me,
Shifting my glistening sands.
Walk quietly and listen to my heartbeat
Wave crashing.
Whales splashing.
Gulls calling.
Snowy Plovers understand
This is our refuge.

Kathy apRoberts