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AMAZING FACES by Lee Bennett Hopkins


edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins & illustrated by Chris Soentpiet

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60060-334-1
Publisher: Lee & Low

Faces and the emotions they reveal are the focus for this appealing but uneven poetry collection. Some selections, like the poem by Rebecca Kai Dotlich that looks ahead to a baby’s possible life experiences or Prince Redcloud’s brief but moving description of a young soldier’s return home, are decidedly adult in tone. Others, like Nikki Grimes’s endearing portrait of a caring teacher or the wistful musings of a young boy ignored by his classmates from Jude Mandell, will be accessible to much younger readers and listeners. Still others feel a bit forced, as if they are trying too hard to fit the designated theme, or, worse, seem out of place entirely. Luckily, Soentpiet’s light-filled portraits and charming crowd scenes bring the characters and settings to life. Realistic, if somewhat idealized, the watercolor illustrations also provide a strong sense of continuity even as they showcase individuals from a variety of cultures. Undeniably attractive and potentially useful in a classroom setting but ultimately less than the sum of its parts, this collection may struggle to find an appreciative audience. (Poetry. 7-10)