WHEN THE HORSES RIDE BY

CHILDREN IN THE TIMES OF WAR

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2006

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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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THE STORY OF EASTER

First published in 1968 and newly illustrated by Vitale, this is a history of the Christian celebration of Easter that, after briefly recounting the story of the Resurrection, links the holiday to other spring festivals, covers the ancient custom of giving the gift of an egg (a symbol of the new life of spring), and includes contemporary customs, such as the fashionable stroll down New York City's Fifth Avenue after church on that day. Also included are instructions for egg decoration and a recipe for hot cross buns. Even the recipe demonstrates the clear, informative prose of Fisher, whose expert organization leads from topic to topic. Vitale's illustrations are a marvel; each full-page picture is filled with details that reflect the times, the flora, and the culture of the era shown, colored with a range of appropriate earth tones. Every element of design makes this an inviting addition to the holiday shelf, even for those already owning the original book with Ati Forberg's illustrations. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-027296-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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