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Florian (Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs, 2001, etc.) keeps rolling along through one successful thematic poetry collection after another, making his work look as effortless and joyful as child’s play. In this latest collection, a companion to his Winter Eyes (1999), he explores both the positives and negatives of the summer season in 28 short, rhyming poems that succeed in being both humorous and finely crafted. Each poem distills one aspect of summer life into a small, polished shell full of rich vocabulary, often encapsulating a common experience such as skipping rope, telling ghost stories around a campfire, swimming like an otter, or fending off flies. Florian’s poems often include clever wordplay or invented words. (“Summerize” sums up the four months of the season in just four lines; “The Sum of Summer” creates new numerical designations: “four fillion flies and five sillion fleas.”) He also includes lots of action themes, as well as sensory experiences that make the reader remember the heat and humidity of summer weather and the warmth of summer sunshine. Florian’s characteristic watercolor illustrations accompany each poem, adding additional notes of simple but stylish humor. Teachers will like this collection for use in the early elementary grades, especially during the last weeks of school; parents will like it for reading aloud on long car trips; and kids will like it because the poems are funny, rhyming, and short. This is children’s poetry at its best, and Florian’s fans will be waiting for the corresponding collections on fall and spring. (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-029267-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2002

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A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter.

A love letter to libraries.

A Black child, with hair in two puffballs tied with yellow ribbons, a blue dress with a Peter Pan collar, and black patent leather Mary Janes, helps Grandmother with the housework, then, at Grandmother’s suggestion, heads to the library. The child’s eagerness to go, with two books under an arm and one in their hand, suggests that this is a favorite destination. The books’ wordless covers emphasize their endless possibilities. The protagonist’s description of the library makes clear that they are always free to be themselves there—whether they feel happy or sad, whether they’re reading mysteries or recipes, and whether they feel “quick and smart” or “contained and cautious.” Robinson’s vibrant, carefully composed digital illustrations, with bright colors that invite readers in and textures and patterns in every image, effectively capture the protagonist’s passion for reading and appreciation for a space where they feel accepted regardless of disposition. In her author’s note, Giovanni states that she spent summers visiting her grandmother in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she went to the Carnegie Branch of the Lawson McGhee Library. She expresses gratitude for Mrs. Long, the librarian, who often traveled to the main library to get books that Giovanni could not find in their segregated branch. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-38765-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Versify/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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“It’s wise to stay clear / Of the dangerous cobra / All months of the year, / Including Octobra.” But it wouldn’t be wise to stay clear of Florian’s latest poetry collection, sixth in his successful series of witty poems and paintings about creatures of all sorts (Mammalabilia: Poems and Paintings, 2000, etc.). This volume includes 21 short poems about reptiles and amphibians, including common creatures such as the bullfrog and the box turtle and more exotic specimens such as the komodo dragon and the red-eyed tree frog. Teachers will like the way the rhyming poems integrate into elementary science lessons, imparting some basic zoological facts along with the giggles, and kids will love the poems because they’re clever and funny in a style reminiscent of Ogden Nash, full of wordplay and sly humor. Florian’s impressionistic full-page illustrations are done in watercolors on primed, brown paper bags, often offering another layer of humor, as in the orange newt reading the Newt News on the cover. A first choice for the poetry shelves in all libraries, this collection is toadally terrific. (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202591-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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