TWIST

YOGA POEMS

The current yoga craze insinuates its way into children’s poetry in this attractively designed volume. Sixteen poems illuminate a variety of yoga attitudes, beginning with “Breath” (“Breath is a broom / sweeping your insides”) and ending with “Twist.” A multicultural cast of happy child yogis stretches and poses its way through the collection, framed in boxes set against mandala-like backgrounds that extend the theme of each given position. So a boy in the eagle position appears opposite the text box, both of which are set against a symmetrical landscape with mirror-image eagles perched atop, and so on. The poetry itself at its best both encapsulates the position in question and adds a zen fillip: “A warrior / takes his stand, / feet planted sturdy and strong. / Before long, he sees / he is heading the wrong way. / He turns and / takes his stand, / feet planted sturdy and strong.” Altogether, it’s a thoughtful, well-crafted approach to an activity that is beginning to make inroads into elementary wellness curricula. Whether this volume, like America’s infatuation with yoga itself, will have lasting appeal is debatable. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2007

ISBN: 0-689-87394-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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