TAN TO TAMARIND by Malathi Michelle Iyengar

TAN TO TAMARIND

Poems About the Color Brown
Age Range: 7 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Helping ethnic children find the beauty in themselves is the goal of Iyengar’s celebratory cycle, which venerates various hues of brown in each poem. The brown association pulls the poems together, and each begins with the same basic three-line stanza: “Brown. / Ocher brown. / Vivid orange-brown”; “Brown. / Tamarind brown. / Deep purplish-blackish brown.” Unfortunately, the poems do little to evoke feelings or establish connections. The limited vocabulary within each makes readers feel as though they are reading the same basic poem; given that the theme is obvious, the use of the word “brown” 125 times results in a metronomic uniformity, sometimes to the point of meaninglessness (just what is “rapid spruce brown”?). Akib’s illustrations do not help, as the characters lack ethnic specificity, with only some variations in dress and hair texture. The collection’s high point is the closing poem, “Brown,” which offers readers pace, variation, rhythm and emotion. Undoubtedly well-intentioned, this effort falls regrettably flat. (Picture book/poetry. 7-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-89239-227-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Children's Book Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2009




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