Both playful and enlightening, period.


A collection of peppy poems and clever pictures explains different forms of punctuation.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s “A Punctuation Tale” kicks off the proceedings with a punny description of a day full of punctuation; goodnight is “cuddled / in quotation marks.” Ensuing poems discuss the comma, the apostrophe, the dash (“A subdued dude / in tweet and text / he signals what / is coming next”), the colon, the exclamation point, and ellipses. Allan Wolf’s poem about this last is called “…” and begins, “The silent ellipsis… / replaces…words missed.” Prince Redcloud’s “Question Marks” is particularly delightful, with the question “Why?” dancing diagonally down in stair steps. The emphatic answer is a repeated “Because!” Other poems pay tribute to quotation marks, the hyphen, and the period. Michele Kruger explains “The Purpose of Parentheses”: “inside a pair / ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) / of slender curves / we’ll hold your few / inserted words.” The final poem is editor Hopkins’ own, “Lines Written for You to Think About” (inspired by Carl Sandburg), urging young readers to write their own verses employing (what else?) punctuation. The 12 poets included work with a variety of devices and styles for an always-fresh feel. Bloch’s illustrations are delightfully surprising, both illustrating each poem’s key points and playfully riffing on the punctuation itself.

Both playful and enlightening, period. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59078-994-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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This posthumously published bilingual collection will be welcomed by Alarcón’s many admirers.


Set within a loose mythological framework, each poem is partnered with a day of the week, playing with its etymology in both Spanish and English.

Alarcón juxtaposes this classical imagery with a child’s limitless perspective of place. “Thursday / this day is for Jupiter / the largest planet of all / and god of thunder Thor— / like Jupiter and Thor / I feel big and mighty / on Thursday.” Daily ritual and mundane activities take on the patina of legend as time molds the character of what a family is and what it becomes. Equating the distinct characteristics of each day with the uniqueness of each family member, the poems embrace the strength of individuality while recognizing the power of the whole. “I begin to see / every day as part / of one big family // where every family / member is unique / so worthy and special.” And just as straightforward as Alarcón’s uncomplicated language and style are Gonzalez’s bold, geometric illustrations rendered in watercolor, gouache, and acrylic markers. From Wednesday’s Talavera-inspired rabbit to Saturday’s Huichol-like design, the colorful double-page–spread layouts complement the poems’ simplicity. Recalling the warmth of family gatherings on the sun’s day and the joy of unstructured play on Saturn’s day, each tribute resonates with nostalgia for a time when personal interactions were done face to face.

This posthumously published bilingual collection will be welcomed by Alarcón’s many admirers. (illustrator’s note, introduction) (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-89239-275-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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From the peacock on the front cover to the daffodil on the back, this visual treat will inspire budding artists and poets.


Adults who fondly remember “Who Has Seen the Wind?” will be delighted to introduce a new generation to some of Rossetti’s child-friendly poems.

Bryan brings fresh life to thirteen of the 19th-century British poet’s least dreary and most accessible poems. Vibrant blossoms on the inside covers hint at the fun inside. This is a celebration of nature and language crafted from cut construction paper. Bryan expands Rossetti’s metaphoric images with unconventional color choices that stretch the imagination. For example, the dog in “Pussy Has a Whiskered Face” is tan, pink, gray, and white, while kitty is all the colors of fire: orange, yellow, brown, and red. Human faces are not limited to shades of brown, black, or tan either. The detailed collages add layers of meaning to each short verse. The eight small collages that illustrate “Color” (at just 16 lines, the longest poem) clearly reference each couplet. Regardless of length, each poem is allotted a double spread. Less-familiar poems include “Mother Shake the Cherry Tree,” “Peacock Has a Score of Eyes,” and “Lie-a-Bed.” Carefully placed text guides readers’ eyes, and contrasting type colors help both titles and text stand out against the bright backgrounds.

From the peacock on the front cover to the daffodil on the back, this visual treat will inspire budding artists and poets. (biographical note) (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4092-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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