An intimidating poem lovingly interpreted.



A story illustrated around a selection from Stein’s 1914 poetry collection, Tender Buttons.

How, exactly, does one visually interpret Stein?? “I hope she has her cow” lends itself to a clear-enough image. And lines like “Nearer in fairy sea, nearer and farther” are obviously evocative. But what of “If it is absurd then it is leadish” or “little leading mention nothing?” Illustrator Stone takes words by the famed experimental poet and lets her imagination lead her to a story about “a little girl named Pauline who lives with her mom in a house on stilts by the sea.” This interpretation is as good as any other, and Stone’s loose-limbed, crudely emotional, brightly washed illustrations do a lot to create a mystifying yet comforting world where a young white girl named Pauline, her mother, and their multiracial group of friends prepare for a party that ends with Pauline paddling out to sea. Stein isn’t for everyone, of course, so there’s no use asking that this interpretation be widely accessible or appealing, but it works, somehow, nonetheless. Less successful and more patronizing is the afterword, in which Stone explains that Stein “liked to use sentences in new ways that looked different than other people’s. Why not try saying something silly while saying something serious? she must have thought.” Must she have?

An intimidating poem lovingly interpreted. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9996584-9-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penny Candy

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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The attempt to present science in a humorous way is a well-meaning one, but the effect seems rather lame for today's...


For kids who love bugs! Gruesome but fascinating photomicrographs of 14 different bugs are the focus of this unusual science book that combines poetry, line drawings and scientific facts to bring bugs alive for curious children.

The bad puns flow relentlessly as a collection of small bugs, illustrated in rather dated-looking black-and-white line, visits the Face Bug Museum, where they learn to drill like a carpenter bee, experience the stinkbug’s stench, sip on nectar at the snack bar and measure the speed of the green darner dragonfly. The insects on display at the “museum”—the hickory horned devil, goldenrod stowaway moth, praying mantis and other exotica—are portrayed in superb, full-color micrographs by renowned nature photographer Siskind. The large close-up of the “Clydesdale of all flies,” the American horsefly, is particularly impressive. Humorous poems by U.S. Poet Laureate Lewis describe each insect; of the dogday harvestfly cicada, he writes, “What?! Two faces / On this mutt? / Creepy. Never / Mind his butt.” Four pages of backmatter give the insects the opportunity to “narrate” a little more information about themselves. The insect jokes keep going all the way to the author bios, so determined is the book to remain light and accessible.

The attempt to present science in a humorous way is a well-meaning one, but the effect seems rather lame for today's visually sophisticated kids and might work better as an app than a book. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59078-925-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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“Little boy blue / come blow your tuba. / The sheep are in Venice, / and the cow’s in Aruba.” Pairing frenetic and garishly colored art to familiar rhymes in “more modern, more fresh, and well…more Goosian” versions, Seibold stakes out Stinky Cheese Man territory to introduce “Jack and Jill / and a pickle named Bill,” the Old Woman Who Lived in a Sneaker (“She had a great big stereo speaker”), Peter Pumpkin Pickle Pepper and about two dozen more “re-nurseried” figures. Against patterned or spray-painted backgrounds, an entire page of umbrella-carrying raindrops float down, a bunch of mice run up (“the clock struck one; / the rest had fun”), cats fiddle for Old King Coal and others, Jack B. Nimble makes a lifelong career out of demonstrating his one trick and a closing rendition of the counting rhyme “One, Two, I Lost My Shoe” is transformed into a clever reprise as many of the characters return to take final bows. Sparkles on the cover; chuckles (despite some lame rhyming) throughout. (Fractured nursery rhymes. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6882-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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