From the sonorant and strange to the profound and challenging, the poems and paintings collected here are sure to capture...

POEMS TO LEARN BY HEART

A gorgeous collection of poems selected with commitment to memory in mind.

Though the author of a few best-sellers on such adult topics as politics and constitutional law, Kennedy continues to carve a name for herself as an anthologist. She teams up here again with Caldecott Honoree Jon J Muth (A Family of Poems, 2005) to present over 100 poems and accompanying illustrations aimed at introducing children to the pleasures of memorization. Unlike other contemporary anthologies with similar ambitions, whose forgettable contents seem picked out of a hat, Kennedy’s selection radiates diversity with purpose. Grouped thematically on popular verse topics—the self, nature, war, family, friendship, etc.—each of the collection’s works offers a distinctive place of attachment for readers. Light, early-20th-century pieces like A.A. Milne’s “Disobedience” and Ogden Nash’s “The Parent” (“Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore, / And that’s what parents were created for”) shine just as brightly as newer nonsensical gems, such as Jack Prelutsky’s delectably gross “Herbert Glerbett” and Neal Levin’s hilarious “Baby Ate a Microchip.” Dark and contemplative subjects fare just as well in selections such as “When he was small, when he would fall,” Vladimir Nabokov’s powerful comparison of a childhood stumble to death in battle, and Wallace Stevens’ “The Snow Man,” as breathtaking in its portrait of winter as it is bleak in its meditation on nothingness. As if Kennedy’s rich poetic finds weren’t enough to hook adventurous youngsters, Muth’s shadowy, evocative watercolors render submission inevitable.

From the sonorant and strange to the profound and challenging, the poems and paintings collected here are sure to capture readers of any age. (Poetry. 3 & up)

Pub Date: March 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-0805-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2013

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.

GRANDMA'S GARDENS

In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A sweet and quiet homage to friendship, nature, and the power of words and poetry.

POETREE

A little girl enjoys writing poems and gets an unexpected surprise when she writes a poem and gives it to a tree, making “the world more splendid."

Sylvia marks the end of winter with a poem about springtime. After reading it to a squirrel, she ties it to a tree (“hoping that it didn’t count as littering”). When she passes the tree on her way to school the next day, she finds a surprise—another poem on the tree. “She never imagined the tree might write back.” Sylvia continues to write poems to the tree and waits to find the next poem. When she realizes a teasing classmate, Walt, is the author of the other poems, she is sad: “Had the tree she loved so much not given her a thing?” Not too unsurprisingly, the two poets become friends, harmoniously trading rhymes beneath the tree that has brought them together. Using precise, intelligent prose, Reynolds captures moments of a child’s innocence: “ ‘So what’s your name?’ Sylvia asked the tree. But the tree stood in silence. ‘Are you shy like me?’ The tree nodded in the breeze. Sylvia understood.” Maydani’s delicate, pencil-and-watercolor paintings, suffused with spring pastels, affectionately invest Sylvia (who has brown skin), Walt (who presents white), and even the tree with personality.

A sweet and quiet homage to friendship, nature, and the power of words and poetry. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-53912-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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