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

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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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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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