The more engaging musical version is available separately through iTunes and other distributors. You won’t hear the typos.

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A PICNIC OF POEMS IN ALLAH'S GREEN GARDEN

Purposeful and saccharine-sweet, these poems on religious and secular topics take on new life on the accompanying CD.

Wharnsby, a musician, has an appealing folk style, but the poetry on the page sounds forced and often trite. To interest young children in diversity, he writes such lines as “People are a lot like candy! / There’re [sic] all so different and dandy.” Describing “Piles of Smiles” that have been hidden away, he laments: “Someone misplaced the key, / causing global tragedy.” The poems range from the personal “I had a Chirpy Chick,” in which the narrator focuses on love for a pet and love for her grandmother, to a didactic poem entitled “The Mosque.” Typographical mistakes abound, with the use of “their” for “they’re” in the poem “Prayer” and in the example above, among others. Vibrantly colored flowers and plants, echoed in the handsome prayer rugs that illustrate “Prayer,” curl their way around multiracial children and adults. Most adult women wear hijab, as do some girls. With more and more Muslim families in North American communities, there is certainly a need for books of this type. Unfortunately, as with much other religious poetry collections for children, the message takes precedence over the words.

The more engaging musical version is available separately through iTunes and other distributors. You won’t hear the typos. (Poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-86037-444-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kube Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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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

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A masterful salute to fatherhood.

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MY DADDY RULES THE WORLD

POEMS ABOUT FATHERS

A collection of poetry that celebrates dads and all they do with and for their children.

The 15 poems collected here focus mostly on the tiny moments that mean so much to children and are remembered years later—the Sunday breakfasts shared between parent and child, the way dad dances his daughter around on his feet, the wrestling matches and playing catch, learning to ride a two-wheeler, and reading books together. A few are more generic: comparing dad to various animals, dad’s snoring, a cheer for dad, and one that looks at the many jobs dads have, though the narrator’s has the best—he stays at home. The line breaks and rhyme schemes make the poems accessible to those reading aloud, and the diverse array of people depicted, most of color, and different combinations (several father-and-child pairs are not of the same race) ensure that readers will find at least one like themselves in these pages. The torn-paper collages (with a few added items for buttons, a watch face, and wire-rim glasses) with no inked details mean that faces are blank slates, so the bulk of the emotion has to come from body positioning, posture, and the relations between figures on a page; Smith has mastered this, conveying so much with tilting heads and embracing arms.

A masterful salute to fatherhood. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9189-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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