OLD ELM SPEAKS

TREE POEMS

In a paean to trees, George and Kiesler follow up on The Great Frog Race and Other Poems (1997), with a similar specialized collection of nature poetry, loosely organized around the four seasons. An astute beholder, George resists the obvious—acorns, apples, leaves falling—for tiny, honed observations on the knotholes in a fence, a hammock that “fills the empty space between two trees,” or a jutting branch that doubles as “a tree horse” rather than a tree house. A dozen words or so are bound into small parcels; even as the contents are unwrapped, there is room for the imagination. Told from the point of view of an oak tree or a fisherman that snags a pine, this ode begs comparison to Janice May Udry’s A Tree is Nice (1955). Kiesler has lightened her textured oil palette with the new greens of leaves and maple shoots, pale cream buds, and a bright wayward kite against a winter white snow sky. Her figures, particularly faces, are deliberately abstract compared to the portraits of her main characters—trees. A lovely, often luminous, collection. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 1998

ISBN: 0-395-87611-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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