An unusually mixed bag.

READ REVIEW

WHAT ARE YOU GLAD ABOUT? WHAT ARE YOU MAD ABOUT?

POEMS FOR WHEN A PERSON NEEDS A POEM

The title of Viorst’s latest collection of poetry for children provides an open invitation for readers not only to ponder feelings in general, but to examine their reactions to the assembled poems as well.

Complemented by White’s free-flowing mixed-media illustrations, the light lyric pieces cover topics ranging from “School Stuff” to descriptions of the seasons, with the most memorable poems centering on personal and familial relations. The reasons “Why Cats Are Better Than My Older Sister” include (but are not limited to) the following: “They never tell you what to do. / They never ever yell at you. / They don’t think that they’re always right. / They’re prettier to look at, too.” In “New Brother,” trenchant free-verse anti–new-sibling sentiment is hilariously underscored by White’s rendering of a smiling, swaddled babe strapped to a rocket heading “To Mars.” But some stumbles make for an uneven reading experience. There are occasional grammatical lapses, as found in “Could Somebody Please Explain This to Me, Please?,” which hinges on subject-verb disagreement, and questionable messages, as offered in “Help Me!”: “Help me please with all my / Ninety-seven other chores. / Then help me make excuses / When you ask for help with yours.” Though likely made in the service of humor or adopting a child’s persona, such poetic choices might give adult readers less to be “glad” than “mad about.”

An unusually mixed bag. (Poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2355-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Timely and stirring.

ENOUGH!

20 PROTESTERS WHO CHANGED AMERICA

A shoutout to heroes of nonviolent protest, from Sam Adams to the Parkland students.

Kicking off a proud tradition, “Samuel threw a tea party.” In the same vein, “Harriet led the way,” “Susan cast her vote,” “Rosa kept her seat,” “Ruby went to school,” and “Martin had a dream.” But Easton adds both newer and less-prominent names to the familiar roster: “Tommie and John raised their fists” (at the 1968 Summer Olympics, also depicted on the cover), for instance; “John and Yoko stayed in bed”; “Gilbert sewed a rainbow” (for San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day parade in 1978); “Jazz wore a dress”; and “America [Ferrera] said, ‘Time’s up.’ ” Viewed from low or elevated angles that give them a monumental look, the grave, determined faces of the chosen subjects shine with lapidary dignity in Chen’s painted, close-up portraits. Variations in features and skin tone are rather subtle, but in general both the main lineup and groups of onlookers are visibly diverse. The closing notes are particularly valuable—not only filling in the context and circumstances of each act of protest (and the full names of the protesters), but laying out its personal consequences: Rosa Parks and her husband lost their jobs, as did Ruby Bridges’ first-grade teacher, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos were banned for life from Olympic competition. Pull quotes in both the art and the endnotes add further insight and inspiration.

Timely and stirring. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984831-97-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more