A unique read-aloud that blends world cultures, poetic form, and natural splendor.

READ REVIEW

RAIN

A pastoral panorama of bucolic settings, spare verse, and multicultural depictions of rain in this Swedish import.

Whether drops of water, flakes of snow, cherry-blossom petals, or dripping tendrils of moss, rains can nourish life, extinguish fires, and offer steady percussion for a locomotive musical interlude. On each rainy spread, life happens in haiku, with all its cultural variety and complexity: A crane observes two children resolving a quarrel, a goatherd wiggles a loose tooth while surveying the flock, a lighthouse keeper discovers an unmoored boat as puffins glide by, rangers monitor a dying forest fire while creatures scurry away, and travelers with llamas climb a steep hillside, stopping for a beetle in their path. Visual details encourage readers to learn more about the countries of origin of the peoples and animals depicted throughout. A short note on the copyright page explains haiku, especially the role of nature in the classic form. While these poems do not strictly follow all the characteristics of haiku, they do evoke different moods, such as the gathering darkness of a crocodile swamp. They also break stereotypes by juxtaposing technology and rural life—a cellphone rings amid a group of bareback riders galloping across a steppe. Most of all, they invite readers to pore over each colorful, expressive illustration to discover visual clues contained in the spare verse.

A unique read-aloud that blends world cultures, poetic form, and natural splendor. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5507-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Both playful and enlightening, period.

A BUNCH OF PUNCTUATION

A collection of peppy poems and clever pictures explains different forms of punctuation.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s “A Punctuation Tale” kicks off the proceedings with a punny description of a day full of punctuation; goodnight is “cuddled / in quotation marks.” Ensuing poems discuss the comma, the apostrophe, the dash (“A subdued dude / in tweet and text / he signals what / is coming next”), the colon, the exclamation point, and ellipses. Allan Wolf’s poem about this last is called “…” and begins, “The silent ellipsis… / replaces…words missed.” Prince Redcloud’s “Question Marks” is particularly delightful, with the question “Why?” dancing diagonally down in stair steps. The emphatic answer is a repeated “Because!” Other poems pay tribute to quotation marks, the hyphen, and the period. Michele Kruger explains “The Purpose of Parentheses”: “inside a pair / ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) / of slender curves / we’ll hold your few / inserted words.” The final poem is editor Hopkins’ own, “Lines Written for You to Think About” (inspired by Carl Sandburg), urging young readers to write their own verses employing (what else?) punctuation. The 12 poets included work with a variety of devices and styles for an always-fresh feel. Bloch’s illustrations are delightfully surprising, both illustrating each poem’s key points and playfully riffing on the punctuation itself.

Both playful and enlightening, period. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59078-994-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more