An eminently friendly introduction to both the poet and his spirit—deceptively simple, just like its subject.



A picture-book biography of the poet, with appropriately quirky multimedia illustrations.

Burgess takes young readers from the birth of Edward Estlin Cummings in Cambridge in 1894 through his decades in Greenwich Village as an established poet. The economical text emphasizes his connections to the natural world, manifesting in his first poem, composed at the age of 3, and the loving support of his parents. Even as a boy, he played with words, inventing new ones and “squish[ing] others together.” Burgess chooses details that will speak to child readers: Estlin’s idyllic, streamside summers; his treehouse in Cambridge (equipped with a stove!); the encouragement of a favorite teacher; the “Krazy Kat” comic strips he affixed to his dorm walls; and especially, his effervescent, rule-breaking approach to writing poetry. Using muted, modernist hues, Di Giacomo incorporates letters and words into her double-page spreads, jumping them through a hoop in an imagined circus scene that emphasizes Estlin’s fearless wordplay and depicting them springing from the open pages of his first published book along with the titular Tulips & Chimneys. The use of a classic typewriter typeface to set cummings’ words apart from Burgess’ text is nicely apropos. Backmatter includes a chronology, the five poems, dated, that appear earlier in the book, an author’s note, and acknowledgments (which double as a bibliographic essay).

An eminently friendly introduction to both the poet and his spirit—deceptively simple, just like its subject. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59270-171-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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The attempt to present science in a humorous way is a well-meaning one, but the effect seems rather lame for today's...


For kids who love bugs! Gruesome but fascinating photomicrographs of 14 different bugs are the focus of this unusual science book that combines poetry, line drawings and scientific facts to bring bugs alive for curious children.

The bad puns flow relentlessly as a collection of small bugs, illustrated in rather dated-looking black-and-white line, visits the Face Bug Museum, where they learn to drill like a carpenter bee, experience the stinkbug’s stench, sip on nectar at the snack bar and measure the speed of the green darner dragonfly. The insects on display at the “museum”—the hickory horned devil, goldenrod stowaway moth, praying mantis and other exotica—are portrayed in superb, full-color micrographs by renowned nature photographer Siskind. The large close-up of the “Clydesdale of all flies,” the American horsefly, is particularly impressive. Humorous poems by U.S. Poet Laureate Lewis describe each insect; of the dogday harvestfly cicada, he writes, “What?! Two faces / On this mutt? / Creepy. Never / Mind his butt.” Four pages of backmatter give the insects the opportunity to “narrate” a little more information about themselves. The insect jokes keep going all the way to the author bios, so determined is the book to remain light and accessible.

The attempt to present science in a humorous way is a well-meaning one, but the effect seems rather lame for today's visually sophisticated kids and might work better as an app than a book. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59078-925-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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“Little boy blue / come blow your tuba. / The sheep are in Venice, / and the cow’s in Aruba.” Pairing frenetic and garishly colored art to familiar rhymes in “more modern, more fresh, and well…more Goosian” versions, Seibold stakes out Stinky Cheese Man territory to introduce “Jack and Jill / and a pickle named Bill,” the Old Woman Who Lived in a Sneaker (“She had a great big stereo speaker”), Peter Pumpkin Pickle Pepper and about two dozen more “re-nurseried” figures. Against patterned or spray-painted backgrounds, an entire page of umbrella-carrying raindrops float down, a bunch of mice run up (“the clock struck one; / the rest had fun”), cats fiddle for Old King Coal and others, Jack B. Nimble makes a lifelong career out of demonstrating his one trick and a closing rendition of the counting rhyme “One, Two, I Lost My Shoe” is transformed into a clever reprise as many of the characters return to take final bows. Sparkles on the cover; chuckles (despite some lame rhyming) throughout. (Fractured nursery rhymes. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6882-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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