WONDERUL WORDS

POEMS ABOUT READING, WRITING, SPEAKING, AND LISTENING

Fifteen poets, from Emily Dickinson to Karla Kuskin, celebrate the pleasures of communicating, while Barbour underscores those pleasures with dazzling, sometimes kaleidoscopic scenes of open books and stylized, often unusually colored human or animal figures. Hopkins has gathered a mix of new poems and reprints: Eve Merriam offers a “Metaphor”: “Morning is / a new sheet of paper / ”; Pat Mora has a tumble of “Words Free As Confetti”; the McKissacks urge children to “Share The Adventure” of reading; Kuskin of “Finding a Poem”; and Ann Whitford Paul of being a “Word Builder.” Alice Schertle contributes a gem about the surreal effects of “Writing Past Midnight,” and Richard Armour’s disquisition on “The Period” provides an apt close. Like Eloise Greenfield’s similarly themed In the Land of Words (2003), this will draw plenty of readers and listeners with its bright colors, and bright words. (Poetry. 7-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-83588-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2004

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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THE CROSSOVER

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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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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