Well-illustrated poetry which may be too challenging for some younger readers.




This latest addition to the Neighbors poetry series offers engaging poetry for young children.

Held and Kim (The Yard Critters Too, 2013, etc.) continue their partnership with a new set of 13 poems that combine wordplay and factual information about animals from aquatic biomes. The marine critters include a dolphin, a seal, a manatee, bivalves, a polar bear, a sea otter, a sea horse, a shark, and a whale; the freshwater animals include a beaver, a snapping turtle, a tiger salamander, and a minnow. As in the authors’ earlier volumes, each spread features at least one easy-to-interpret digital collage or illustrated image. The addition of higher-level cultural references—Uniqlo and Prius, for example—and a poem that doesn’t provide contextual clues to the meanings of challenging words (“Tiger Salamander”) suggest that the book may not be appropriate for very young readers. The authors continue to use a wide variety of ear-pleasing rhymes—including homophones (see/sea), weak rhymes (Uniqlo/also), alliteration (so placid/so pleasant), assonance (brine/time), and broken rhymes (jaws/awesome). However, some moments may stop some readers in their tracks. There are some personifications that don’t quite click (Heron and Tern are called “stern,” with no apparent rationale other than forcing the rhyme); and a passage about blue whales inexplicably switches to humpbacks. “Bivalves” begins with an obscure double entendre—“So common they’re part of our tongue / which is happy to order and taste them”—which requires readers to understand the word “tongue” to mean a language as well as an organ in the mouth used to speak. The illustrations, however, continue to delight with their combination of different art styles, and their surprising patterns, which invite second looks.

Well-illustrated poetry which may be too challenging for some younger readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0916754310

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Filsinger & Co.

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2015

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Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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