HEY YOU! C’MERE

A POETRY SLAM

In a burnished urban landscape full of the colors of summer, a group of youngsters gather. “Sis is eatin’ poems! / Josh is drinkin’ poems! / Amelia’s wearin’ poems on her feet! / . . . You’ve got a poem in your pocket, / A poem on your tongue, did you know that?” Their poetry slam takes them past “Tough Kids,” what “A Good Cry” feels like, how fast “Summer” goes. Adults come in for some clear-eyed razzing: “Aunt Evelyn,” who huggles and nuzzles and kootchie-koos “till you shriek”; “Great Granma,” who’s a little deaf, and “Mr. Befuddled,” Mattie’s Uncle Lester. The poems have bounce and pop and innocence, and would perform well for a group in readers’ theater or on stage. Cepeda, who did the truly cool illustrations for Julius Lester’s What a Truly Cool World (1999), matches playwright Swados’s exuberance with vibrating backgrounds of orange or green or turquoise. Thick impasto colors and geometric forms take kinetic shape as the cast of characters, their props (don’t miss the multilayered ice cream cones), and the architecture of fire escapes and sidewalks take the stage. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-09257-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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DONAVAN'S WORD JAR

Donavan's friends collect buttons and marbles, but he collects words. ``NUTRITION,'' ``BALLYHOO,'' ``ABRACADABRA''—these and other words are safely stored on slips of paper in a jar. As it fills, Donavan sees a storage problem developing and, after soliciting advice from his teacher and family, solves it himself: Visiting his grandma at a senior citizens' apartment house, he settles a tenants' argument by pulling the word ``COMPROMISE'' from his jar and, feeling ``as if the sun had come out inside him,'' discovers the satisfaction of giving his words away. Appealingly detailed b&w illustrations depict Donavan and his grandma as African-Americans. This Baltimore librarian's first book is sure to whet readers' appetites for words, and may even start them on their own savory collections. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-020190-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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