The title of this book of 15 poems will immediately grab the attention of teachers and librarians.
All together, the listing of titles in the table of contents forges a lyrical look at what libraries mean to individuals. Many of the poets are well-known in children’s literature, and the poems are personal and heartfelt. “Enchantment,” by Jane Yolen, revels in the power of a library card; “Internet Explorer,” by J. Patrick Lewis, makes a metaphorical nod at the integration of computers into library services; “The Poetry Section” by Alice Schertle, celebrates “that poetry sound”; “I’d Like a Story,” by X.J. Kennedy, consists of the energetic plea of an eager reader to a helpful librarian. The page composition and text placement add playfulness, while the gouache-and-pencil illustrations are buoyant and imaginative. Wispy backgrounds and splotches of color add ebullience. Hopkins, a master anthologist, has compiled an excellent collection and includes one of his own poems, a tribute to distinguished librarian and storyteller Augusta Baker (whom he knew personally). The overall effect is an endearing accolade for fellow book and library mavens.
The final stanza of Cynthia S. Cotten’s “My Card” says it all: “My library card / unlocks the world / and more / with a single / scan.” Amen. (Picture book/poetry 5-12)