A pitch-perfect ode to the details and delights of playing soccer.

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SOCCERVERSE

POEMS ABOUT SOCCER

Twenty-two poems celebrate, from a young person’s perspective, the beautiful game that is soccer.

Two poems offer the viewpoints of a pair of shin guards—one of them left on the field by accident after the last game. A wry observation about “Fans” is spot-on: “I like it when my parents come. / I like that they are near. / But when they yell instructions, / I pretend that I can’t hear.” A poem for two voices in which one player speaks Spanish and one English happily concludes: “Si! Juguemos! / Yes! Let’s play!” (The Spanish voice uses English punctuation conventions.) A player contemplates the difficulty of offering a handshake to an overly aggressive opposing player at game’s end. Another, carded for an infraction, is relieved to have his apology accepted. Ikê’s digitally created art is stylized and full of motion. His lighthearted illustrations incorporate some poetic fantasy elements and flourishes, such as an inventor creating a perfect teammate: mostly feet for a field player; hands for a goal keeper. Most of the players display a range of skin colors and hair colors and textures; a preponderance have short hair. Each poem uses one or more of 13 poetic forms described briefly in an author’s note—something that will surely charm teachers and aspiring poets.

A pitch-perfect ode to the details and delights of playing soccer. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62979-249-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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