BOW WOW MEOW MEOW

IT’S RHYMING CATS AND DOGS

Florian continues his poetic exploration of the entire animal kingdom, last visited in lizards, frogs, and polliwogs (2001), with this seventh entry in his successful series, following the same distinctive format: a large, square size with each short poem facing a full-page illustration. The 21 poems (with all but one rhyming) include “Dog Log” and “Cat Chat” to introduce the reader to more general characteristics, nine poems about specific dog breeds, and one about cousin wolf. Ten additional poems are about cats, mainly larger, wild cats such as the cheetah, the ocelot, and the poetically named jaguarundi, who “likes to play in jaguarundi-wear.” Three selections are concrete poems, and a four-line poem, “The Dalmatian,” has every letter o filled in to create an additional kind of spot. Several of the poems end with a dash of Ogden Nash panache: the bloodhound with senses that are “scent-sational” or the one-line question-shaped poem about the ocelot: “Why ocelots have lots of spots puzzles ocelot.” Florian’s playful watercolor illustrations have their usual understated charm, with muted tones, bold lines, and clever touches of offbeat humor. It’s rhyming cats and dogs for sure, and the creative Florian poetic zoo continues to grow. (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-15-216395-6

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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VISITING LANGSTON

A little girl is going with her daddy to visit the home of Langston Hughes. She too is a poet who writes about the loves of her life—her mommy and daddy, hip-hop, hopscotch, and double-dutch, but decidedly not kissing games. Langston is her inspiration because his poems make her “dreams run wild.” In simple, joyful verse Perdomo tells of this “Harlem girl” from “Harlem world” whose loving, supportive father tells her she is “Langston’s genius child.” The author’s own admiration for Hughes’s artistry and accomplishments is clearly felt in the voice of this glorious child. Langston’s spirit is a gentle presence throughout the description of his East 127th Street home and his method of composing his poetry sitting by the window. The presentation is stunning. Each section of the poem is part of a two-page spread. Text, in yellow, white, or black, is placed either within the illustrations or in large blocks of color along side them. The last page of text is a compilation of titles of Hughes’s poems printed in shades of gray in a myriad of fonts. Collier’s (Martin’s Big Words, 2001, etc.) brilliantly complex watercolor-and-collage illustrations provide the perfect visual complement to the work. From the glowing vitality of the little girl, to the vivid scenes of jazz-age Harlem, to the compelling portrait of Langston at work, to the reverential peak into Langston’s home, the viewer’s eye is constantly drawn to intriguing bits and pieces while never losing the sense of the whole. In this year of Langston Hughes’s centennial, this work does him great honor. (Poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6744-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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