A dreamy collection of bedtime poems and witty illustrations that’s anything but sleepy.

ONE MINUTE TILL BEDTIME

60-SECOND POEMS TO SEND YOU OFF TO SLEEP

A substantial compilation of new poems for children by over 130 poets.

The opening salvo of former Children’s Poet Laureate Nesbitt’s hefty anthology of “60-second” poems designed to send children “off to sleep” lets the cat out of the bag as to what bedtime’s really about. Having performed basic end-of-day tasks (“Had a bath and / brushed my teeth; / those on top / and underneath”) and prepped for a good night’s sleep, Nesbitt’s speaker rejoices: “All that’s done; / at last I’m freed. / Finally, / it’s time to read.” Here, as throughout the collection, Niemann’s boldly inked drawing of a teddy bear’s free-fall dive into the waiting pool of an open book succinctly and suggestively captures the spirit of the accompanying poem—and, in this case, the entire anthology. Presented with over 140 new poems by many of today’s most prominent children’s poets (Mary Ann Hoberman, Margarita Engle, Jack Prelutsky, Ron Koertge, Nikki Grimes), readers are treated to lyric nighttime reflections on topics as disparate as relationships with favorite pets or grandparents, beloved “toasty, warm jammies,” and one’s blankie—“old and manky.” There’s also plenty of nonsense verse sure to inspire wild dreaming “on the road to morning.” These pithy poetic observations and Niemann’s engaging illustrations prove at once antidote and anodyne for the sleep-averse child demanding just one more….

A dreamy collection of bedtime poems and witty illustrations that’s anything but sleepy. (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-34121-9

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A small but mighty collection sure to remind readers that love, again, can prevail over all if given the chance.

I AM LOVED

In this collection, poet Giovanni seeks to remind black children especially that they are loved.

Giovanni carries the weight of the love that has sustained generations and united communities to her poems with amazing, succinct elegance. Standouts include “I Am a Mirror,” opposite which Bryan centers a real inset mirror against a colorful background of vibrant shapes amid natural landscapes. “I reflect the strengths / Of my people / And for that alone / I am loved,” concludes Giovanni’s ode to black ancestry and intergenerational resilience. “No Heaven” takes another heartwarming approach sure to incite genuine embraces among readers. “How can there be / No Heaven / When tears comfort / When dreams caress / When you smile / at me.” Recalling her earlier collection Hip Hop Speaks to Children (2008, illustrated by Kristen Balouch), Giovanni ends with the playful and reflective “Do the Rosa Parks,” a rhythmic and moving song about the power of sitting down to stand up. Outkast vibes run through it, though some readers may wish for an instructional cue. Throughout, Bryan’s bright tempera and watercolor paintings offer readers harmonious forms and flowing lines, smiling black children and adults arranged as if in tropically colored stained-glass windows. The two masters together deliver another powerful addition to their separate, award-winning catalogs.

A small but mighty collection sure to remind readers that love, again, can prevail over all if given the chance. (Picture book/poetry. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0492-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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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

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