GIVE YOURSELF TO THE RAIN

POEMS FOR THE VERY YOUNG

The subtitle is unfairly limiting; among these 24 previously unpublished poems are deceptively simple lyrics that will engage readers of any age: “Brace nothing against it / Safe in your bed / Listen / And give yourself to the rain. . . .” Though Brown gazes into a jack-o’-lantern’s eyes, and later the cozy confines of a sugar egg, for the most part she looks outward to the natural world, and so does Weidner (Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny, 2000, etc.) with outdoorsy scenes of children and familiar animals in grassy settings, depicted with subdued colors and soft, flowing lines. There are signs that some poems were still works in progress when the poet died in 1952; the title poem, for instance, ends with a weak line, and “Colors” starts out strongly—“Shout Red Sing Blue Laugh Green / Smile Yellow Whoa Black . . . ”—then trails off. Still, her sharp powers of observation, her ability to evoke the intensity of childhood experience, her ear for rhythm and wordplay, come through full-strength. Renowned children’s literature scholar Leonard S. Marcus adds a consciousness-raising introduction for parents/adults who haven’t already cottoned to Brown’s unique voice and talents. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-83344-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2002

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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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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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