THE OXFORD ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF AMERICAN CHILDREN'S POEMS

Hall (The Oxford Book of Children’s Verse in America, 1985, etc.), offers up a chestnut-flavored alternative for younger readers, matching roughly contemporary illustrations to one or two selections from each of 57 American poets. To the usual suspects—Eugene Field’s “Wynken, Blynken and Nod,” Emily Dickinson’s “I’m nobody, who are you?” and even Carl Sandburg’s “Fog”—he adds more recent works from the likes of Jack Prelutsky, Gary Soto, Sandra Cisneros, and Janet S. Wong; he also includes three poems attributed somewhat baldly to an “Anonymous Native American.” The art comprises a gallery of American illustration, from crude 18th-century woodcuts, through Jessie Willcox Smith, to Marcia Brown and the Dillons. Writing that “poetry is most poetry when it makes noise,” Hall recommends these verses for reading aloud and memorization, exhorting parents and children to appreciate how they “preserve a moment of the American past.” A safe collection, seldom veering from the canon. (index) (Poetry. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 1999

ISBN: 0-19-512373-5

Page Count: 93

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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THE BUG IN TEACHER'S COFFEE

AND OTHER SCHOOL POEMS

PLB 0-06-027940-0 Dakos’s collection of 23 poems from the perspective of items found at school satisfies the I Can Read requirements of simplicity and word repetition, but may not lure beginning readers back for a second time. The material is uninspiring: The school’s front door says, “Keep me shut,/I have the flu,/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Keep me shut,/I have the flu.” A book sings “Happy Birthday” to a ruler, then sings “Happy Unbirthday” when the ruler says that it is not its birthday. Also appearing are a couple of clever items—one on a kidnapped pencil and another on a comb pulling hazardous duty—along with some typographic elements that amiably convey the idea that words are malleable; Reed’s illustrations possess geniality and character, making some inanimate objects very personable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027939-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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ISN'T MY NAME MAGICAL?

SISTER AND BROTHER POEMS

Leaving behind much of the lyricism found in his previous collections, Berry (First Palm Trees, 1997, etc.) pens poems in the voices of a sister, Dreena (who has the magical name), and brother, Delroy, on their experiences in the family with a dour sister, mother (“A teacher, Mom has lots of pens/and home and school jobs”), and father, who “drives a train,/sometimes in a heavy jacket.” This father is not really poem-material: “And, sometimes, Dad brings us gifts./Sometimes, he plays our piano.” The brother, Delroy, who tenders three autobiographical poems, can’t sit still and can’t stop talking about it. There is a good declarative poem, about a strong friendship he shares with another boy. Otherwise, he is dancing like a madman (“doing body-break and body-pop”) or skateboarding under the influence of a fevered imagination (“I want one owl on each my shoulder/hooting out as I leap each river”). In her first book, Hehenberger takes a literal route, anchoring every poem in domestic scenes of family and friends; the deep colors and finely sculpted forms become set pieces for Berry’s earthbound images. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-80013-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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