Quibbles aside, an inspirational and reasonably realistic representation of the sporting world.

HOME RUN, TOUCHDOWN, BASKET, GOAL!

SPORTS POEMS FOR LITTLE ATHLETES

This easily read poetry collection represents a broad array of sports and games.

Simple rhymes and a consistent, well-paced rhythm read aloud well. Just about every sport is included, expanding from the titular activities to swimming, figure skating, ice hockey, karate, bicycling, gymnastics, tennis, and even lacrosse. Simple, flat paintings done in ink and watercolor present a diverse cast, featuring a variety of skin tones and hair textures (though no religiously specific garb), with all faces drawn with dots for eyes and simple lines denoting noses and mouths. Most of the poems reflect on the movements or goal of each sport without mentioning its name so that readers will make inferences from both the verse and the illustrations. For example, the poem about basketball is titled “Swish!” and it begins: “I dribble, / I run fast down court, / Although my legs are very short.” A foreshortened basketball about to enter the hoop is shown from the top of the net from a perspective that looks down on the player-filled court. This approach works well enough, but it does presuppose familiarity with all the sports in question. Caregivers unfamiliar with lacrosse, for instance, may not be able to help youngsters understand exactly what’s going on with “Teammates.” All sports are depicted with both male and female participants (judging from attire and hairstyle).

Quibbles aside, an inspirational and reasonably realistic representation of the sporting world. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62779-349-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Both playful and enlightening, period.

A BUNCH OF PUNCTUATION

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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