Purposeful and saccharine-sweet, these poems on religious and secular topics take on new life on the accompanying CD.
Wharnsby, a musician, has an appealing folk style, but the poetry on the page sounds forced and often trite. To interest young children in diversity, he writes such lines as “People are a lot like candy! / There’re [sic] all so different and dandy.” Describing “Piles of Smiles” that have been hidden away, he laments: “Someone misplaced the key, / causing global tragedy.” The poems range from the personal “I had a Chirpy Chick,” in which the narrator focuses on love for a pet and love for her grandmother, to a didactic poem entitled “The Mosque.” Typographical mistakes abound, with the use of “their” for “they’re” in the poem “Prayer” and in the example above, among others. Vibrantly colored flowers and plants, echoed in the handsome prayer rugs that illustrate “Prayer,” curl their way around multiracial children and adults. Most adult women wear hijab, as do some girls. With more and more Muslim families in North American communities, there is certainly a need for books of this type. Unfortunately, as with much other religious poetry collections for children, the message takes precedence over the words.
The more engaging musical version is available separately through iTunes and other distributors. You won’t hear the typos. (Poetry. 5-9)