SWITCHING ON THE MOON

A VERY FIRST BOOK OF BEDTIME POEMS

From the traditional “Man in the Moon” and Vachel Lindsay’s “The Moon’s the North Wind’s Cooky (What the Little Girl Said)” to Roger McGough’s “First Rub of Dawn,” this properly soporific companion to Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry (2007, illustrated by Polly Dunbar) pairs 60 short, murmurous, night-themed poems or extracted verses to full-bleed, usually full-spread paintings awash in soft moonlight and gentle, dreamlike images. Printed in generously spaced lines of good-sized type well suited to reading in low light, the selections are artfully arranged in a thematic progression that moves from moonrise to bedtime rituals (“My name is Captain Soapsuds— / A mighty ship I sail….”), on to a set of lullabies and then through the wee hours to dawn. There is a lullaby with a Caribbean inflection (“Rack-a-bye, Baby”) and one from the Iroquois, and a Scottish quatrain appears against Langston Hughes’s “The Dream Keeper.” To suit these and others, Karas provides a gently multicultural cast of characters. Best of all, the poetry’s mild, steady rhythms will close little eyelids anywhere. (Poetry collection. Birth-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4249-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A sweet and quiet homage to friendship, nature, and the power of words and poetry.

POETREE

A little girl enjoys writing poems and gets an unexpected surprise when she writes a poem and gives it to a tree, making “the world more splendid."

Sylvia marks the end of winter with a poem about springtime. After reading it to a squirrel, she ties it to a tree (“hoping that it didn’t count as littering”). When she passes the tree on her way to school the next day, she finds a surprise—another poem on the tree. “She never imagined the tree might write back.” Sylvia continues to write poems to the tree and waits to find the next poem. When she realizes a teasing classmate, Walt, is the author of the other poems, she is sad: “Had the tree she loved so much not given her a thing?” Not too unsurprisingly, the two poets become friends, harmoniously trading rhymes beneath the tree that has brought them together. Using precise, intelligent prose, Reynolds captures moments of a child’s innocence: “ ‘So what’s your name?’ Sylvia asked the tree. But the tree stood in silence. ‘Are you shy like me?’ The tree nodded in the breeze. Sylvia understood.” Maydani’s delicate, pencil-and-watercolor paintings, suffused with spring pastels, affectionately invest Sylvia (who has brown skin), Walt (who presents white), and even the tree with personality.

A sweet and quiet homage to friendship, nature, and the power of words and poetry. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-53912-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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