Accessible holiday poetry for the younger set.


Looking Forward to Christmas

It’s never too early to get ready for Christmas, according to this brisk collection of devotional verse for children.

For Christians, the season of Advent is a time of preparation. So great is the joy and mystery of Jesus’ birth that believers take four full weeks to ready themselves for that miracle. This slim volume is written in the spirit of Advent; in it, Meyer (Hootch, 2015) gives readers verse intended to help children prepare for the arrival of baby Jesus. Appropriately, then, her poems are short and eminently readable. Take, as one example, “Baby Moses”: “Baby Moses was saved from a bad king, / Just as baby Jesus was. / Moses grew up in a palace, in riches, / But he loved his people more. / Jesus, too, was rich, / But for us, He became poor. / When He was with His disciples, He said / That He did not have a place to lay His head.” Meyer’s simple language ensures that her message won’t be lost on young or old. Like “Baby Moses,” many other poems in the collection take on Old Testament themes. Thus, there are pieces here on early biblical heroes, among them Adam and Eve’s son Seth; Abraham, initiator of the covenant; and Israel’s great King David. In Meyer’s eyes, these Hebrew biblical standouts are important mainly because they pave the road for Jesus. Yet the poet saves some of her best language for Christ himself. In an early poem, she borrows a famous metaphor from the author of the Gospel of John to hail the arrival of the savior: “The Baby in the manger is the Light of the World. / He separated the darkness from the Light. / And when we celebrate the best celebrations of all, Being with our Savior in Heaven, / There will be no need for sun or moon, For He will be the only light.” Perhaps the only failing of the volume is that there’s so little poetry. Meyer offers readers just 30-odd brief works, and the result is less a book than a pamphlet. Yet maybe she’s just following P.T. Barnum’s old maxim: always leave them wanting more.

 Accessible holiday poetry for the younger set.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4984-5495-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Xulon Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2016

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From the artist who created last year's shoutingly vivid Growing Vegetable Soup, a companion volume about raising a flower garden. "Mom and I" plant bulbs (even rhizomes), choose seeds, buy seedlings, and altogether grow about 20 species. Unlike the vegetables, whose juxtaposed colors were almost painfully bright, the flowers make a splendidly gaudy array, first taken together and then interestingly grouped by color—the pages vary in size here so that colored strips down the right-hand side combine to make a broad rainbow. Bold, stylish, and indubitably inspired by real flowers, there is still (as with its predecessor) a link missing between these illustrations with their large, solid areas of color and the real experience of a garden. The stylized forms are almost more abstractions than representations (and why is the daisy yellow?). There is also little sense of the relative times for growing and blooming—everything seems to come almost at once. Perhaps the trouble is that Ehlert has captured all the color of the garden, but not its subtle gradations or the light, the space, the air, and the continual movement and change.

Pub Date: March 21, 1988

ISBN: 0152063048

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988

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A festive invitation to creative liberation.


A pleasingly tactile exploration of the possibilities inherent in mistakes.

"A torn piece of paper... / is just the beginning!" Spills, folded paper, drips of paint, smudges and smears—they "all can make magic appear." An increasingly complex series of scenarios celebrates random accidents, encouraging artistic experimentation rather than discouragement. The folded-over paper can be a penguin's head; a torn piece of newsprint can turn into a smiling dog with a little application of paint; a hot-chocolate stain can become a bog for a frog. Thanks to a telescoping pop-up, a hole is filled with nearly limitless possibilities. The interactive elements work beautifully with the photo-collaged "mistakes," never overwhelming the intent with showiness. Saltzberg's trademark cartoon animals provide a sweetly childlike counterpoint to the artful scribbles and smears of gloppy paint.

A festive invitation to creative liberation. (Pop-up. 4-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5728-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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