“And all shall behold the seasons unfold” in this beautiful volume celebrating nature and verse in its most splendid...

With a keen and sensitive eye, a young English girl explores the Devon countryside.

A scrapbook is the perfect design element for the tale, as Pippa, on a visit to her aunt, shares her favorite pastimes: walking, horseback riding and poetry. Her first-person narration is on notebook paper in cursive writing, while the poetry selections are in old-fashioned Times New Roman. These range from traditional rhymes to a medley of English-language poets writing about cows, lambs and meadow mice, among other topics. Ted Hughes, William Butler Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, Walter de la Mare and John Tams, who wrote the songs for the stage production of War Horse, are among the poets represented. A festive and traditional May Day celebration concludes the day’s activities for Pippa. Gill’s mixed-media artwork features delicately nuanced paintings and sketches of local animals, trees and flowers, allowing readers to see them in close-up detail through Pippa’s eyes, along with the old churches, villages and fields that she slowly passes. Occasional flaps, gatefolds and transparent pages enhance the striking presentation. This is a first collaboration for the former English children’s laureate and his wife; all royalties benefit their charity, Farms for City Children.

“And all shall behold the seasons unfold” in this beautiful volume celebrating nature and verse in its most splendid quietude. (afterword, poetry index) (Poetry/fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6629-3

Page Count: 110

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013



The emphasis is more on funny than scary in this slim collection, though a few individual poems may give pause. Stella Michel’s mummy mourns the waste of good ingredients: “Fruit bat wings with Hollandaise, / eyeballs in a demi-glaze” don’t do much good for a monster with no stomach. Edna Cabcabin Moran’s zombie kid tries to catch a baseball, but the impact takes his hand off with the mitt. But in “The Witching Hour,” by Angela McMullen, an unnamed protagonist lies sleepless, hoping to survive till morning, and Wynkoop’s wishing well delivers an “eyeless beast with jagged teeth... / To search for frightened children with its heightened sense of smell.” Co-anthologist Judd is also well-represented here, with a bat-shaped concrete poem among others. While there are chills and chuckles both among these verses, they are mild ones—an additional purchase. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5655-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010



Fresh off his engaging Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys (illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, 2010) and inspired by the work of Andrew Russ, Raczka continues to dabble in short lyric forms, here experimenting with images conjured up by breaking down a single word. The smaller components that comprise the subsequent free-verse poem read left to right, cascading down the page while maintaining the same horizontal letter positions as in the original word. For example, “vacation” yields “ac tion /     i n /   a / va     n,” alongside Doniger’s spare three-color drawing of a family and a rabbit traveling through the countryside in a van with a canoe on the roof. For readers who find the spatiality of the lettering a challenge for comprehension, Raczka sets the poem in more standard format, “vacation / action / in / a / van,” on the following page. While these 22 poems are uniformly clever, some, like “earthworms”—“a / short / storm / worms / here / worms / there / wear / shoes”—are more successful than others, such as “flowers”—“we slow / for / free / wows”—both in their playfulness and in evoking the suggestive depths of language. Fun as a prompt for poetic exploration but less fulfilling as a stand-alone volume. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59643-541-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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