Brodsky (for adults, On Grief and Reason, 1996, etc.) challenges the notion that a place—any place—can be truly “discovered” by humans, as if willed into being by their intents and designs. His poem is also, more quietly, a promise of wonder that the world holds in wait for those open to its charms. The book has a Genesis-like, Big-Bang beginning, when “there were just waves/hammering at the obstacles.” Clouds sent down rain, fish came, birds alighted on the new land, “yet they were just pilgrims, and very few/of them evolved into settlers.” By the time Europeans arrived, America was an old place. “They stepped ashore and they rode across/this land of milk and honey,/and they settled in with their many laws,/their cities, their farms, their money.” Although this is a picture book, with collage artwork from Radunsky that is fluent in its rude edges and construction-paper color, the text claims readers’ heed as it signals a gracious, elemental style: “When you are a continent, you don’t mince/words and don’t crave attention.” (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-31793-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999



This oversized companion to the much ballyhooed My Very First Mother Goose (1996) will take toddlers and ex-toddlers deeper into the playscapes of the language, to meet Old King Cole, Old Mother Hubbard, and Dusty Bill From Vinegar Hill; to caper about the mulberry bush, polka with My Aunt Jane, and dance by the light of the moon. Mixing occasional humans into her furred and feathered cast, Wells creates a series of visual scenarios featuring anywhere from one big figure, often dirty or mussed, to every single cat on the road to St. Ives (over a thousand). Opie cuts longer rhymes down to two or three verses, and essays a sly bit of social commentary by switching the answers to what little girls and boys are made of. Though Wells drops the ball with this last, legitimizing the boys’ presence in a kitchen by dressing them as chefs, in general the book is plainly the work of a match made in heaven, and merits as much popularity as its predecessor. (Folklore. 1-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0683-9

Page Count: 107

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999




Prose poems celebrate the feats of young heroines, some of them famous, and some not as well-known. Paul (Hello Toes! Hello Feet!, 1998, etc.) recounts moments in the lives of women such as Rachel Carson, Amelia Earhart, and Wilma Rudolph; these moments don’t necessarily reflect what made them famous as much as they are pivotal events in their youth that influenced the direction of their lives. For Earhart, it was sliding down the roof of the tool shed in a home-made roller coaster: “It’s like flying!” For Rudolph, it was the struggle to learn to walk without her foot brace. Other women, such as Violet Sheehy, who rescued her family from a fire in Hinckley, Minnesota, or Harriet Hanson, a union supporter in the fabric mills of Massachusetts, are celebrated for their brave decisions made under extreme duress. Steirnagle’s sweeping paintings powerfully exude the strength of character exhibited by these young women. A commemorative book, that honors both quiet and noisy acts of heroism. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201477-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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