Kids after some highbrow ha-ha’s will find them here.

READ REVIEW

IF I WEREN'T ME

A MENAGERIE IN POETRY

A light poetic survey of the animal kingdom and then some.

Posing the question, “If I weren’t a human, / what else could I be?” Evans playfully answers with possibilities ranging from the “one-celled amoeba” and exotic narwhal to the fanciful jackalope, unicorn, even a vampire. As he curates his menagerie, Evans takes occasion to employ a variety of poetic forms in portraying both the common and the unusual, with mixed results—going so far at one point as to both use and invoke the ghazal form to describe the gazelle: “I’d live like a poem, headlong and heartstrong, / and wear a ghazal, if I were a gazelle.” Throughout, Pope’s bold, directly expressive pen-and-ink illustrations amplify Evans’ wry message, as in “If I Were a Hippo,” where Pope underscores Evans’ apt depiction with a sketch of a hippo holding a wee umbrella that barely shields its eyes. Evans’ humor, while silly and offbeat, often relies on rather refined wordplay (“If I were a polar bear, / … / I’d go with the floe”) or, as in the case of the albatross, on sophisticated literary and cultural allusions: “Of course I’d be cross / if I were an albatross! / What did I do? What the heck? / Why hang me around your neck?”

Kids after some highbrow ha-ha’s will find them here. (Poetry. 8-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-945268-09-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Plum Street Publishers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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AT THE SEA FLOOR CAFÉ

ODD OCEAN CRITTER POEMS

From snapping shrimp with bubble-shooting claws to the Osedax worm that digests whalebones on the ocean floor, intriguing and unusual sea creatures are introduced in this collection of 18 engaging poems written in a variety of forms. A paragraph or two of identification and explanation follow each poem. This attractive small volume is illustrated with hand-colored linoleum block prints set on a blue-green background that darkens page by page as the reader descends. “Dive In!” introduces the habitat, and, on the last page, “Hooray for the Sea and the ROV” celebrates the ocean and the vehicles humans use to explore its deepest parts. One piece calls for two voices, a leopard sea cucumber and an emperor shrimp. Shape poems introduce the violet snail and a swarm of krill. These poems lend themselves to reading aloud, and many are short and catchy enough to be easily memorized. Concluding with a helpful glossary, a clear explanation of the poetic forms that points out rhymes, patterns and beats, suggested further resources and acknowledgements, this is an ideal title for cross-curricular connections. This gathering of humorous poetry and fascinating facts should be welcomed as a companion to Bulion and Evans’ previous collaboration, Hey There, Stink Bug! (2006)—even the surprise among the school of krill on the endpapers will make readers smile. (Informational poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56145-565-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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An enticing entree to the glories of Shakespeare’s verse.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

From the Poetry for Kids series

In the fifth installment of the illuminating Poetry for Kids series, the spotlight shifts from U.S. luminaries—Dickinson, Whitman, Sandburg, Frost—across the Atlantic to perhaps the most famous writer of English.

Again pairing an accomplished academician with a gifted illustrator, the resulting collection features 31 poetic selections curated by Shakespearean scholar Tassi (English, Univ. Nebraska-Kearney) and accompanied by atmospheric artwork from Spanish illustrator López. Though the Shakespearean oeuvre contains 154 sonnets and some longer poems, speeches from his plays dominate Tassi’s carefully crafted portrait, highlighting many famous reflections on love and desire, calls to arms, and musings on power. Interestingly, one must look to the volume’s explanatory “What William Was Thinking” section to learn not only the dramatic context behind, for example, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” from Julius Caesar, but why Mark Antony’s observation that “The evil that men do lives after them; / The good is oft interred with their bones” carries such weight. More immediately, alongside Macbeth’s timeless “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow” soliloquy, López’s eerie and evocative visualization wonderfully sketches the outline of the stages of life being alluded to in the smoky vapor of a snuffed-out candle. Shakespeare’s intricate syntax and Elizabethan vocabulary will warrant additional coaching for younger readers, facilitated by marginal notes.

An enticing entree to the glories of Shakespeare’s verse. (index) (Picture book/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-504-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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