This posthumously published bilingual collection will be welcomed by Alarcón’s many admirers.

Set within a loose mythological framework, each poem is partnered with a day of the week, playing with its etymology in both Spanish and English.

Alarcón juxtaposes this classical imagery with a child’s limitless perspective of place. “Thursday / this day is for Jupiter / the largest planet of all / and god of thunder Thor— / like Jupiter and Thor / I feel big and mighty / on Thursday.” Daily ritual and mundane activities take on the patina of legend as time molds the character of what a family is and what it becomes. Equating the distinct characteristics of each day with the uniqueness of each family member, the poems embrace the strength of individuality while recognizing the power of the whole. “I begin to see / every day as part / of one big family // where every family / member is unique / so worthy and special.” And just as straightforward as Alarcón’s uncomplicated language and style are Gonzalez’s bold, geometric illustrations rendered in watercolor, gouache, and acrylic markers. From Wednesday’s Talavera-inspired rabbit to Saturday’s Huichol-like design, the colorful double-page–spread layouts complement the poems’ simplicity. Recalling the warmth of family gatherings on the sun’s day and the joy of unstructured play on Saturn’s day, each tribute resonates with nostalgia for a time when personal interactions were done face to face.

This posthumously published bilingual collection will be welcomed by Alarcón’s many admirers. (illustrator’s note, introduction) (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-89239-275-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017





A dozen classic poems, with Lewis’ playful revisions on the opposite pages.

The title poem is a reworking of Beatrice Schenk de Regniers’ “Keep a Poem in Your Pocket,” which touts the importance of imagination. The revision exalts the value of memories triggered by little objects—“red hawk feather, / silver penny, pinkie ring”—found in a pocket. Langston Hughes’ “Winter Sweetness” describes a snow-covered house as made of sugar. The revision, “Winter Warmth,” compares a book to a cup of hot cocoa on a frigid day. An excerpt from Jack Prelutsky’s “The Goblin” begins, “There’s a goblin as green / As a goblin can be.” Lewis begins “The Ogre” this way: “There’s an ogre as wide / As a flatbed truck.” He counters Robert Louis Stevenson’s two-line “Happy Thought” with a “Sleepy Thought”; David McCord’s “This is My Rock” becomes “This is My Tree.” Perhaps the cleverest revamping is that of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” In Lewis’ hands it becomes “Stopping by Fridge on a Hungry Evening.” (Said refrigerator is full of algae and mold and rotting food.) Lewis’ poems are a mixed bag—some come off poorly by comparison to their originals—but the book could provide wonderful inspiration for young would-be poets. Wright’s illustrations, in acrylic paint and ink on canvas, add much color, notably including the multiracial cast of children she depicts.

Clever. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59078-921-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016




Effectively soporific, though less broadly diverse in culture than casting.

Intricate cut-paper borders and figures accompany a set of sleepy-time lyrics and traditional rhymes.

Aside from “All the Pretty Little Ponies,” which is identified as “possibly African American,” the selections are a mostly Eurocentric sampling. It’s a mix of familiar anonymous rhymes (“Oh, how lovely is the evening,” “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, / Bless this bed that I lie on”) and verses from known authors, including Jane Taylor’s “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” (first verse only), Robert Louis Stevenson’s “My Bed is a Boat,” and Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Seal’s Lullaby.” Melodramatic lullabies such as “Rockabye Baby” have been excluded in favor of more pacifistic poems, and in keeping with the cozy tone (though she does show one cat looming hungrily over a mouse hole), Dalton enfolds each entry in delicately detailed sprays of leaves or waves, graceful garlands of flowers, flights of butterflies, and tidy arrangements of natural or domestic items, all set against black or dark backgrounds that intensify the soft colors. A parade of young people—clad in nightclothes and diverse of facial features, hair color and texture, and skin hue—follow a childlike, white angel on the endpapers and pose drowsily throughout.

Effectively soporific, though less broadly diverse in culture than casting. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1673-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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