Books by Bobbi Katz

Released: March 1, 2010

An unnamed little girl describes her very pleasant life, which is full of nice activities yet still empty due to her unfulfilled longing for a dog. The girl cycles through her hobbies and outdoor play in different locations and seasons, with illustrations in full color, before she shifts into imaginary mode with a dog of her own. These pages show what she would do with her longed-for pet, with the illustrations in moody shades of blue to indicate her day-dreaming state. The last two spreads revert to full-color and reality as the girl is presented with the dog of her dreams by her doting parents. Why the girl receives the dog is not clear, so the conclusion falls a little flat while being completely predictable. The girl comes across as spoiled with her dog-mania, and her failure to solve the central plot issue on her own does nothing to develop her character. Manning's watercolor illustrations provide a distinct personality and genuine emotions for the girl as well as a perky canine companion, but they cannot save the narrative as a whole. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2009

Out in time for National Poetry Month—and specifically April 30th, which is Poem In Your Pocket Day—this follow-up to 2004's Pocket Poems (illustrated by Marilyn Hafner) offers nearly 50 more short verses and excerpts paired to bright cartoon scenes of, mostly, children at play in various settings. The underlying theme is seasonal, with topics that range from Emily Dickinson's "Dear March, come in!" and Paul B. Janeczko's "August Ice Cream Poem" ("Lick / quick") to a Halloween "Skeleton Parade" from Jack Prelutsky and Jorge Torres's bilingual "José in Winter: El Invierno." Though weighted toward more recent work (with four contributions by Katz), a clip from the Navajo Night Chant, part of the witches' incantation from Macbeth and several traditional jump-rope or other rhymes read freshly enough to fit in. Plenty of good choices here for memorizing, for reading aloud or just…reading. Afterword on the importance of poetry to language development. (Poetry. 7-10) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2006

A celebration of the 12 months of the year in lyric verse and colorful art. Pham's bright illustrations resemble watercolors and use an extensive palette, and Katz's dozen poetic paeans are accessible tumbles of imagery. September, for example, is built around the first day of school, chalk and notebooks and yellow pencils leading to the new teacher writing her name on the blackboard. Each poem also sits on a different background of an appropriate color; December a frosty blue studded with snowflakes, May a blend of greens shades, etc. Two additional two-page illustrations depict the summer (between June and July) and winter (just after December) panoramically. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts; altogether, the book portrays a friendly multicultural urban world, children sledding down a snowy hill against a backdrop of tall buildings in January, people of multiple races buying apples and turkeys at a street market in November. An attractive introduction to poetry for young readers. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
POCKET POEMS by Bobbi Katz
edited by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by Marylin Hafner
Released: March 1, 2004

With an eye toward easy memorization, Katz gathers over 50 short poems from the likes of Emily Dickinson, Valerie Worth, Jack Prelutsky, and Lewis Carroll, to such anonymous gems as "The Burp"—"Pardon me for being rude. / It was not me, it was my food. / It got so lonely down below, / it just popped up to say hello." Katz includes five of her own verses, and promotes an evident newcomer, Emily George, with four entries. Hafner surrounds every selection with fine-lined cartoons, mostly of animals and children engaged in play, reading, or other familiar activities. Amid the ranks of similar collections, this shiny-faced newcomer may not stand out—but neither will it drift to the bottom of the class. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

The introductory poem in Katz's (We the People, 2000, etc.) new collection asks the reader to imagine the library late at night. What if the words in books get bored just sitting there quietly on the pages? Instead, "they burst out of the books in a rackety riot!" Chomp on crudités with a "chinkety-chonkety," or listen to Willis Walker "jibber-jab-jibber." Sympathize with Noah's wife's complaints about the animals on the ark that snort and bellow and shriek. From the "snip-snip" at the barbershop, to the "swooooosh" of the wind, to the "munchy crunchy" of breakfast toast, to the "bash, crash, blunder" of thunder, these poems yell, shout, pop, and clank. A few are only slightly quieter. They merely pitter-pat and buzz. Playful manipulation of typeface and font guides the reader in giving voice to these sounds. Kwas's (The Story of St. Valentine's Day, 1999) lively, brightly colored illustrations perfectly match the content as they move and flow around and through the poems. This collection of poems tickles the eye and the ear. Onomatopoeia has never been this much fun. (Poetry. 7-10)Read full book review >
WE THE PEOPLE by Bobbi Katz
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

Katz has experimented with writing poems in the voices of Americans of the past, utilizing this approach with original poems in American History Poems (1998). In this new collection, 28 of the 30 poems from that volume are reprinted, along with 37 new poems written for this one. Her impeccable research is reflected in both the panoramic scope and exacting details of this project, with an amazing variety of poems in voices representing every age group and many cultures and perspectives. Each indicates its "author," the date, and the place of composition. At the bottom of each page, important dates and quotations are printed in light blue, helping ground each poem in historical context, and providing a time line throughout the book. Some of the poems are in the voices of famous leaders, explorers, or inventors who were actual historical figures; others are by average men or women of the author's invention; and many of the poems are in the fictional voices of children and young adults. The poems are presented in chronological order, divided into sections for each century. Crews (Ghost Story, 2000) provides a photographic montage to introduce each section, with a different typeface used for the poems of each century, moving gradually toward a more modern look. The poetic forms also progress through the centuries, from structured poems in formal language to more casual and humorous poems to modern formats such as rap, shape poems, and even a collection of e-mails. An author's note, bibliography, and source notes on the art are also included. Creative teachers will like the possibilities inherent in this collection: for choral readings, a "poetry through the centuries" performance, or as a spark for poetry-writing assignments. A chorus of lively, informative voices waiting to be discovered by those who make the effort to listen. (Poetry. 9+)Read full book review >
TRUCK TALK by Bobbi Katz
by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by Bobbi Katz
Released: April 1, 1997

A book that pairs crisp full-color photographs with catchy rhymes that describe the functions of various trucks in the simplest of terms. The verses are written from the trucks' perspectives, e.g., a garbage truck appears near these words: ``See me gobble, grind and mash/while I dine on lovely trash.'' A cement mixer is on display near these lines: ``Cement soup I deliver/turns to sidewalk when it's set.'' From delivery to dump truck, trailer to tow truck, all the standard trucks are represented, along with a few others—an ice-cream vendor, a FedEx truck, and a moving van. Aerial shots, close-ups, head-on angles, and profiles create a visual showcase of trucks at rest and in motion. Wide tire tracks left in the mud close the book, the only evidence that trucks have been there, a fact that young truck lovers will not have forgotten. (Picture book. 2-4) Read full book review >