A pleasant-enough gathering, with some bright spots.



Verses on diverse topics, to read fast or slow, loud or low, to audiences of one or many.

Coelho writes in such a casual, loose-jointed style that even a poem written to demonstrate how “rhyming words really pop!” forcibly yokes “stars” with “far” and “snows” with “grow.” He kits each short poem or group of poems with largely interchangeable performance suggestions, from “Start softly and finish LOUD. This is called crescendo!” to (for a choral presentation) an unhelpful “try reading some lines together and some lines separately.” The typography is likewise generic, as all the poems are printed in the same size and, except for bolded homophones in one about the experiences of a “Chilly Chili,” weight. Still, two scary entries—one featuring an unseen creature creeping up to whisper in your ear (“Don’t Look Now”), the other about unexpectedly coming upon a cave filled with human remains (“The Bones of Pampachiri”)—offer delicious chills that balance the lightheartedness of groups of riddles and tongue twisters. For visual exuberance, Gray-Barnett uses scribbly lines and garish colors to good effect, and children or other human figures, when they appear, seem a racially and ethnically diverse lot.

A pleasant-enough gathering, with some bright spots. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4769-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A rewarding exploration of a common substance’s complex nature.



From hummocks and bummocks to frazil and floebergs, an introduction in poems and explanatory notes to ice’s many states and formations.

Gianferrari’s sonorous drifts of free verse are sometimes confusingly allusive on first reading—“Cat ice whorls / Swirl and twirl. / Brinicles sink, / Plume and bloom. // Pancake ice stacks / Smack and crack”—but make clearer sense after examining the illustrations and reading the extensive notes at the end. Readers who think ice in nature comes only in sheets, floating chunks, or icicles are in for an eye-opening experience as, in naturalistic vignettes and vistas, Chen depicts silky strands of hair ice around twigs and needle-thin spikes emerging from frozen ground; freezing seawater undergoing subtle color changes while crystallizing from “frazil” to “grease ice,” “nilas,” and ultimately free-floating sea ice; and, when temperatures rise, aging into “rotten” or “candle” ice before melting to begin the “ice cycle” again. Though the author neglects to note that water boils at 212 degrees only at sea level (and simplistically claims that it comes only in three states), she finishes off handsomely, listing types of terrestrial and marine ice (of which “new” sea ice alone has seven); explaining how floebits, floebergs, brash ice, and growlers are distinguished by their size ranges; defining numerous other special terms; then closing with leads to books, videos, and science projects. Bundled-up human figures in the pictures are rare and small but do show variations in skin color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rewarding exploration of a common substance’s complex nature. (Informational picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72843-660-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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