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Anxiety and resilience are the major themes twining through both Greenfield’s free-verse testimonials and Gilchrist’s impressionistic collages. Using Langston Hughes’s “Hold Fast To Dreams” as her touchstone, the poet takes the voice of children through the ages: wishing that “Warriors” would only march in parades; sharing both fright and laughter with “A Child Like Me” on the other side of the world; waiting for “Papa,” a veteran whose mind is still on the battlefield, to come all the way back home; pretending that the soldiers riding by are off to some rescue or other constructive task; finding joy in toys and music—“Still, we play. / Our toys take us / to happy places.” Gilchrist blends paint and reworked photos into kaleidoscopic arrays of children’s faces, snatches of historical detail and streams of mixed colors; the effect is panoramic, and ties the poems, which are not specific, to particular cultures or conflicts. Ending on a reassuring note—“We give to the world, / still, / our wonder, our wisdom, / our laughter, our hope”—this gathering keeps the violence mostly off-stage, while providing several sad but hopeful ways to relate its hard reality. (afterword) (Poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 15, 2006

ISBN: 1-58430-249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2006

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Strong rhythms and occasional full or partial rhymes give this account of P.T. Barnum’s 1884 elephant parade across the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge an incantatory tone. Catching a whiff of public concern about the new bridge’s sturdiness, Barnum seizes the moment: “’I will stage an event / that will calm every fear, erase every worry, / about that remarkable bridge. / My display will amuse, inform / and astound some. / Or else my name isn’t Barnum!’” Using a rich palette of glowing golds and browns, Roca imbues the pachyderms with a calm solidity, sending them ambling past equally solid-looking buildings and over a truly monumental bridge—which soars over a striped Big Top tent in the final scene. A stately rendition of the episode, less exuberant, but also less fictionalized, than Phil Bildner’s Twenty-One Elephants (2004), illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (author’s note, resource list) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-44887-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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With an eye toward easy memorization, Katz gathers over 50 short poems from the likes of Emily Dickinson, Valerie Worth, Jack Prelutsky, and Lewis Carroll, to such anonymous gems as “The Burp”—“Pardon me for being rude. / It was not me, it was my food. / It got so lonely down below, / it just popped up to say hello.” Katz includes five of her own verses, and promotes an evident newcomer, Emily George, with four entries. Hafner surrounds every selection with fine-lined cartoons, mostly of animals and children engaged in play, reading, or other familiar activities. Amid the ranks of similar collections, this shiny-faced newcomer may not stand out—but neither will it drift to the bottom of the class. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-525-47172-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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