GUESS AGAIN!

RIDDLE POEMS

More than 20 clever riddles keep the pages turning as two children make their way through their days. Each two-page spread features a rhyming quatrain and an illustration that hints at the answer to the riddle. The following page offers the answer both textually and in the illustration. Unfortunately, what is a good concept fails in execution. The substitutions in meter are sometimes interesting, but overall the meter has the simplistic sing-song pattern of a greeting card. The lines also seem like they are forced in service to the rhyme, instead of letting the rhyme occur organically, in service to the narrative. Additionally, the hints drawn into each scene are too obvious, keeping it from being much of a brainteaser for even a young child. Finally, the illustrations, while colorful, are not enough to keep this book on track. At times clever, but mostly unsatisfying, this just misses its mark. (Poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-87483-730-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little Folk/August House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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HONEY, I LOVE

Iffy art cramps this 25th-anniversary reissue of the joyful title poem from Greenfield’s first collection (1978), illustrated by the Dillons. As timeless as ever, the poem celebrates everything a child loves, from kissing Mama’s warm, soft arm to listening to a cousin from the South, “ ’cause every word he says / just kind of slides out of his mouth.” “I love a lot of things / a whole lot of things,” the narrator concludes, “And honey, / I love ME, too.” The African-American child in the pictures sports an updated hairstyle and a big, infectious grin—but even younger viewers will notice that the spray of cool water that supposedly “stings my stomach” isn’t aimed there, and that a comforter on the child’s bed changes patterns between pages. More problematic, though, is a dropped doll that suddenly acquires a horrified expression that makes it look disturbingly like a live baby, and the cutesy winged fairy that hovers over the sleeping child in the final scene. The poem deserves better. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009123-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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SEASONS

A BOOK OF POEMS

Two venerable contributors have teamed up to make a small collection of poetry for beginning readers. The I Can Read series has usually produced fine volumes that new young readers can actually read themselves; this has the added attraction of introducing various kinds of verse forms, both rhymed and unrhymed, in very short bursts. The contents are divided by season: Eleven poems each for “Winter Bits” and “Spring Things” and nine poems each for “Summer Thoughts” and “The Feel of Fall.” Not all are completely successful, but most capture that essence of perception that is good poetry. “The crickets / fill the night / with their voices— / It is like / a message / in another language / spoken to a part / of me / who hasn’t / happened yet.” That’s “The Crickets” in its entirety. Although the city is mentioned in some verses, the imagery is decidedly rural if not downright rustic, with wooden fences, dirt roads, and meadows in evidence. Children wear helmets to ride their bikes, and carry backpacks, but the pictures are timeless, if in country mode. Blegvad (First Friends, not reviewed, etc.) is a master of the vibrant line and telling detail—every leaf blows in the wind just so; every child has his or her own specific energy or repose. A small delight. (Poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-026698-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2002

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