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CHRISTIAN MORGENSTERN: LULLABIES, LYRICS AND GALLOWS SONGS by Christian Morgenstern

CHRISTIAN MORGENSTERN: LULLABIES, LYRICS AND GALLOWS SONGS

by Christian Morgenstern, translated by Anthea Bell, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-55858-364-5
Publisher: NorthSouth

 Deliberately obtrusive, busy book design all but mars this overdue collection of children's poetry and nonsense verse from a German experimental poet (d. 1914). Morgenstern's work is full of surprises; gathered here in two sections separated by a translator's note, the poems are soothing, startling, amusing, or revolting by turns, their language and sentiments as conventional as ``Spring Song''--''Winter, winter go away,/Spring is coming any day!'' or as bizarre as ``The Big Laloola,'' which is entirely gibberish: ``Hontrarooroo miromenty/zaskoo zes roo roo?/Entypenty, liyolenty,'' etc. Zwerger's illustrations, whether full page scenes or tiny figures scattered between or around the lines, display their usual delicate, impish humor, and every spread has a different look, with various backgrounds and the use of many typefaces. When poems are printed on a dark green background, or in a typeface so light in weight that the thins disappear in the coated paper's glare, it may appear that legibility has taken a back seat to layout. Still, it is the first English collection of Morgenstern's children's poetry since Great Lalula and Other Nonsense Rhymes (Putnam, 1969). Try it--at least the ``Gallows Songs'' portion--on Roald Dahl fans. (Poetry. 10-14)