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BLACK STARS IN A WHITE NIGHT SKY by JonArno Lawson Kirkus Star


by JonArno Lawson & illustrated by Sherwin Tjia

Age Range: 11 - 15

Pub Date: March 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59078-521-8
Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Staid design masks a terrific collection of poetic surprises, observations and ruminations on topics as varied as discovering sunken treasure but not taking it, meeting an unusually eloquent “Elephant,” considering the prospect of eating “Frog On A Cob” again—“I can’t stand the smell of it, / cannot think well of it, / live with the hell of it / day after day”—and, in the title poem, using the “inward-gazing mind” to reverse what the “outward-dazing eye” sees. Displaying an uncommon ear for sound-play, Lawson also introduces a range of quirky characters, from “Thirsty Kirsten” and “Merciful Percival” to a beloved witch (“I knew what you were, / but I couldn’t resist / when your moon-haloed silhouette / rose from the mist”) and a “Handsome Prince” who decides to kiss Rip Van Winkle rather than Sleeping Beauty. Tjia’s monochromatic wash illustrations generally interpret these sparklers literally, but sometimes take imaginative leaps of their own. Despite the variety of tone and subject, the poet’s voice and sensibility are clear and consistent in this above-average gathering. (notes) (Poetry. 11-15)