NIGHT GARDEN

POEMS FROM THE WORLD OF DREAMS

From Wong (The Rainbow Hand, p. 231, etc.), a collection of 15 soulful poems that commands attention and keeps until the end, with a canny, singular take on the familiar imagery of dreamtime. These are episodes of remembrance and genesis, falling and flying, of speaking an unknown language with facility, of the bite of an inexorable nightmare. Short and vivid, the poems urge readers to “pull/at the air around you/when you wake,/pull and gulp it down” to keep alive the presence of the departed who have just visited the dreamer. Wong can be skip-quick to suggest evanescence, or her words can flutter with fear; she can be exquisitely funny, as when a sibling eavesdrops on a sister who is talking and laughing in her sleep—about the eavesdropper. Paschkis is equal to the task of illustrating these poems, with two-page spreads presented as mirror-image two-toned diptychs, bursting with glyphs and portents across dream-crazed backgrounds, with the text scrolling across one page and the full-color image undulating from the other. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82617-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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MARIANA AND THE MERCHILD

A FOLKTALE FROM CHILE

A resonant, evocative tale about a lonely woman and the child of the sea who becomes her dearest companion. Mariana, an old woman, lives by the sea that is a mother to her, providing her with food for the table, driftwood for her fire, and music for her soul. But she is lonely, for the village children mock her and run away. One day after a wild storm when the sea-wolves prowl, she finds a crab shell; within it is a tiny merchild, with pearly skin and hair “the color of the setting sun.” Mariana, at the advice of the Wise Woman, places the merbaby where her mother, the Sea Spirit, can see she is safe; every day the Sea Spirit comes to feed her daughter and to teach her. Mariana cares for her the rest of the time, even though she knows the merchild must eventually return to the sea. The village children come to play with the merchild, and warm to Mariana. When the merchild does finally rejoin her mother, she returns daily to Mariana with gifts and greetings. Conveyed in the emotionally rich telling are the rhythm of waves, filial devotion, the loving care of children, and the knowledge of beasts. The beautiful illustrations are full of the laps and curves of the ocean, the brilliant colors of sea and sky, and the gorgeous reds and dusky browns of fabric, interiors, skin tones, and shells. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8028-5204-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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JUMP BACK, HONEY

THE POEMS OF PAUL LAWRENCE DUNBAR

PLB 0-7868-2406-9 Bryan, Carole Byard, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, and Faith Ringgold pay tribute to Dunbar, a poet who heard the rhythms in everyday life and recorded them, e.g., “Jump back, honey, jump back” is what waiters called out to one another before coming out the swinging door of the kitchen into the dining room of a restaurant. Here, that phrase is part of “A Negro Love Song,” which Jerry Pinkney envisions as a young man and young woman at a garden gate. “Little Brown Baby” is a poem written for his father; “Dawn,” captures the quiet mystery of a new day: “An angel, robed in spotless white,/Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night./Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone./Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.” Readers will enjoy these poems and the variety of illustrative styles, but the words are even more meaningful if they are recited aloud. (Poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7868-0464-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Jump at the Sun

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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