CASTLES

OLD STONE POEMS

Adopting similar tones and voices, two poets exchange generally somber observations in verse about 15 stone castles and palaces, plus a “Castle in the Air” from Viking legend. From “Mysterious Bodiam Castle, / Floating upon a pond” in East Sussex to Hearst Castle, occupied by “Sir Prince of Print,” each castle has a distinctive character, and receives a tribute laced with historical allusions. Included are Anne Boleyn’s sad end in the Tower of London, Leonardo da Vinci’s staircase in France’s elegant Chambord, Dracula’s (“The Count who loved to take blood counts / In very, very large amounts”) supposed connection to Romania’s Bran Castle, Richard II’s imprisonment in Austria’s Dürnstein and so on. Though readers who want detailed views of each fortress will have to look elsewhere, Burr sets the poems into spread-sized scenes of realistically depicted knights in armor, richly appointed chambers, dim stone passages and glimpses of looming walls or ruins, all of which strongly enhance the overall Romantic atmosphere. Dreamers will latch on to the poems and pictures; for young historians, the poets close with prose notes, a timeline and a robust reading list. (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-59078-380-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2006

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AN EGRET’S DAY

Poetry and short informative paragraphs combine to celebrate both the elegance and the natural history of the American egret. Haiku, free verse, rhyming couplets and even a limerick are just some of the forms Yolen masterfully uses to engage readers on both aesthetic and scientific levels. Gorgeous photography completes this carefully designed literary science piece with scenes of the egret’s daily life. Stemple captures the egret’s movements as the light of each part of the day, from the yellow-orange glow of sunrise to midday pink to late afternoon sunset blue to evening purple, is reflected on its snow-white feathers. Both the poetry and the brief fact-filled vignettes explain how egrets walk, eat, fly and preen and how their plumes, so lace-like, were once coveted for decorating clothes and hats. A final poem muses on the future of this great wading bird in a country filled with polluted wetlands. A stunning combination of scientific and ecological knowledge offered through a graceful fusion of lyrical and visual media. (Informational picture book/poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-650-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2009

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A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history.

JARS OF HOPE

HOW ONE WOMAN HELPED SAVE 2,500 CHILDREN DURING THE HOLOCAUST

The brave work of Irena Sendler, one of the righteous gentiles of World War II, is succinctly depicted in this new picture book.

“There are two kinds of people in this world, good and bad.” As a child, wise words from her father gave Irena a guiding principle to live by and prompted the adult Sendler to find ways to save 2,500 innocent Jewish children and babies from the horror of their Holocaust fate. She worked with a network of smugglers and shelters to hide them in carpentry boxes, vegetable sacks, and laundry piles, transporting them to orphanages and the homes of willing Christian foster families, recording the children’s names so they could be found later and burying her lists in the titular jars. And when she herself was imprisoned by the Nazis, Zegota, the Polish resistance group, bribed guards to free her so she could continue her important work. Digital and traditional art in opaque dark browns and grays illustrates the sinister period and shadowy existence of these saved children. Roy’s chronological narrative concentrates on the period from 1940 to 1944 and stresses Sendler’s heroism; it also includes invented scenes and dialogue, marking it as fiction.

A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history. (afterword, author’s note, glossary, index, source notes) (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62370-425-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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