Books by Nina Payne

Released: May 3, 2005

Opening with the full text of her lyrical unrhymed poem that begins, "Lovely the lateness / in summertime darkening," Payne recalls a summer evening where inside and outside merge. The grownups are talking, the scent is of damp geraniums, children are playing hide and seek and, "Moths and mosquitoes are biting the lampposts." Swiatkowska works with color, texture and magic; she lightly sketches the outlines of the child's face lost in the splashes of geranium with dreamlike snatches of memory or story, a jug on the table has a face and there's a pelican in a bowl. Wonderful things happen to the text, too: Multiple fonts in differing colors and weights swagger and sway throughout the pages, often with little decorative elements that echo historiated initials from illuminated manuscripts in extremely modern dress. Dreamily evocative, down to its last "no one is leaving / then everyone's gone." A rich confection, beautifully delivered. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
FOUR IN ALL by Nina Payne
by Nina Payne, illustrated by Adam Payne
Released: Oct. 31, 2001

An artistic collaboration between a mother and son, this freshman effort is laudable, though somewhat flawed. The younger Payne's cut-paper collage provides not only a rich backdrop for poet Payne's (All the Day Long, o.p.) economical couplets, but a story of its own, that of a girl traveling alone in the dreamy land outside her country home. In one particularly stunning spread the words "one two three four" accompany intricate illustrations of ten creatures—a big bee, two ants, three ladybugs, and four tiny elves—wending their way through the sinewy grass. In the distance, the child builds a wood frame house. The facing page finds the girl dancing atop the weather vane of the finished structure with the words "roof window chimney door" set against the darkening sky. Rendered in the same earth-toned hues that define the illustration, unfortunately the text often recedes into the background. Illustrations bordered by creamy parchment-like paper let the words stand out. At just four words per spread (all nouns), the rhythmic text may well be remembered by young listeners, but emergent readers will find few visual cues in the quixotic images. Still, the exquisitely detailed, darkly lit illustrations reward close inspection. The final page lists the poem in its entirety, 56 nouns in all. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >