MOTHER POEMS by Hope Anita Smith

MOTHER POEMS

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Having taken on the departure—and subsequent return—of a father in The Way a Door Closes (illustrated by Shane W. Evans, 2003) and Keeping the Night Watch (illustrated by E.B. Lewis, 2008), Smith turns to the loss of a mother. “[C]an’t nobody love me / like my momma do,” exults the narrator, a little girl at the opening of the book. Her mother is the center of her life, her stepfather notable only when he’s away and she can snuggle in bed with her mother. So when her mother dies, the now-preteen girl is a “motherless shell.” The raw emotion contained in these poems is undeniably visceral. But the unnamed narrator seems to exist in a vacuum; the glancing references to friends and relatives are not enough to answer readers’ natural questions about whom she lives with, how they help (or not) the grieving child—a curiosity after two such piercing looks at the effect of a loss on an entire family. The author supplies her own visual accompaniment, lovely torn-paper collages that complement but do not fill the gaps in the text. Beautiful but incomplete. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8231-9
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2009




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