SMALL TALK

A BOOK OF SHORT POEMS

Thirty-three little texts, none longer than 12 lines, set one to a page and graced by either a miniature painting inside a simple geometric frame or a full-bleed double-page watercolor. The poets range from Mother Goose to Richard Wilbur, and include Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, and Christina Rossetti, as well as some of the luminaries in recent children's poetry: Myra Cohn Livingston, Aileen Fisher, X.J. Kennedy, Eve Merriam. Grouped roughly by season, these are predominantly nature poems, with a few about relationships, and the concluding one, Victoria Forrester's ``A Poem So Spun,'' about the uses of poetry. The pieces are thoughtfully selected and coherently organized, not for their subject matter but for their lapidary quality, the aptness of their imagery, and their economy of means. Collections shouldn't pass up this volume simply because they already own Valerie Worth's Small Poems books (FSG, 1978-1994) or an extensive range of haiku. In a field of little books of little poems, this one is outstanding. (Poetry. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-15-276577-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

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DOG HEAVEN

Rylant's debut as a picture book illustrator (not to be confused with her board book debut as a collagist in The Everyday Books, 1993) offers sweet comfort to all who have lost loved ones, pets or otherwise. ``When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields.'' There are geese to bark at, plenty of children, biscuits, and, for those that need them, homes. In page- filling acrylics, small, simply brushed figures float against huge areas of bright colors: pictures infused with simple, doggy joy. At the end, an old man leans on a cane as he walks up a slope toward a small white dog: ``Dogs in Dog Heaven may stay as long as they like. . . .They will be there when old friends show up. They will be there at the door.'' Pure, tender, lyrical without being overearnest, and deeply felt. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-590-41701-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1995

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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