THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE SCHOOL

A collection of 18 poems seeks to encapsulate the school experience. With dry humor, David L. Harrison’s “Show-and-Tell” describes what happens when Billy brings his snake to school; Kenn Nesbitt’s soggy child sees wicked opportunity in a malfunctioning “Drinking Fountain”; Carol Diggory Shields captures, in clipped, breathless verse, the excitement of a “B-Ball” game. Other topics run the gamut from test anxiety to gross lunch food to recess to the challenge of cursive writing. Manning’s spiky, slyly subversive watercolors give this collection a welcome edge, for, despite the overall solid quality of the selections, this is hardly a new concept—look at any back-to-school display to see its predecessors. Moreover, the final poem—a plaint about homework—which may excite sympathy, ends this volume on an oddly negative note. One to miss. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-082338-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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