At once affirming, silly, and poignant: a stunning visual and poetic compendium on growing up.


A charming, gorgeously illustrated children’s collection of light verse.

Wilson and Goode here combine their comedic artistry to create an edgy and substantial collection of light verse with exquisite accompanying pen-and-ink drawings unafraid to explore childhood’s darker reaches. From typographical play to concrete poems, Wilson pulls out a number of visual poetic stops in inviting readers to “think / outside / the box” and ponder humorous cautionary tales on the perils of fibbing, snitching and sibling rivalry, alongside wildly concocted romps through the imagination. A number of memorable creatures emerge from these pages—for example, “Horace Hippopotamus,” who “ate more than he oughtamus,” and a miffed ladybug, who admonishes: “Stop calling me lady. / Please. I’m a dude!” Awkward situations are celebrated in poems such as “Wishy-Washy,” where the speaker blows out birthday cake candles while silently imploring, “I wish Evan liked me!” Alas, “right then Evan picks his nose, / which turns his finger green!”; horrified, the speaker cries: “Relight the candles… / My first wish was a huge mistake. / I need to trade it in!” Here, as throughout the volume, in but a few strokes, Goode’s pen deftly realizes the moment: the offending finger prominently up Evan’s nose, the speaker’s heart-shaped wish wafting from the birthday candles’ smoke, jaggedly rent in half.

At once affirming, silly, and poignant: a stunning visual and poetic compendium on growing up. (Poetry. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4169-8005-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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“He called on me. / My answer’s wrong. / Caught like a squirrel / on an open lawn. / Standing alone, / twiddling my paws, / frozen in place, / working my jaws. / I’d like to bolt, / but where? / I moan. / Could anyone / be more / alone?” Poet, educator and storyteller Holbrook returns with a collection of 41 poems about school worries and classroom problems. Here readers find substitutes and pop quizzes, bullies and homework storms. Nearly half of the poems have appeared in previous collections, but here the white space around each poem is filled with poetry facts, definitions and challenges to get young poets writing. Some entries are more successful than others; a few have odd rhymes, others a jangle in the rhythm. The title, too, is quite misleading: There is only one zombie poem. However, the subjects will resonate, and the hints and tips will excite young writers whether they currently love poetry or not. Sandstrom’s serviceable pen, ink and faded watercolor spot illustrations are as hit-and-miss as the poems. This is good classroom poetry, though, if not verse for the ages. (Poetry. 9-11)



Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-820-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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Child readers and educators will find themselves enthralled by short, punchy poems and the science behind them.


The amazing antics of amphibian acrobats unfurl.

Bulion and Meganck (Superlative Birds, 2019, etc.) again combine their literary and artistic wits (and scientific knowledge) to create a completely satisfying package for young people who want to learn about frogs (toads are classified with frogs), salamanders, and caecilians. Bulion not only appeals to their interest in poetics, but encourages kids to “Get Your Boots Wet!” It’s impossible not to warm to herpetology after reading aloud poems with lines about star-fingered toads like: “Her skin grows pockets, capped with lids, / to shield her embryonic kids, / whose tails shrink as they sprout four legs, / no tadpoles hatch—they stay in eggs, / ’til star-shaped toe and pointy snout / poke through Mom’s skin…pop, pop they’re out!” Meganck’s wry cartoons amplify the humor. The backmatter, strong as the main text, serves young readers well but will also spur teachers interested in multidisciplinary units on to new heights, serving as a model for many subjects. The poetry notes will provide lots of fodder for adults who want to introduce poetry in a systematic way, discussing both familiar forms and more esoteric poetry types, such as kyrielle and Skeltonic verse. The backmatter also includes a map (unlabeled) and a combined key to endangered status and relative size but no index.

Child readers and educators will find themselves enthralled by short, punchy poems and the science behind them. (glossary, resources) (Informational picture book/poetry. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-098-3

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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