IS THIS FOREVER, OR WHAT?

POEMS AND PAINTINGS FROM TEXAS

This sumptuously designed gathering of poetry and paintings from 140 Texans (or former Texans) will lead readers not so much to that state specifically, as to a state of mind: a “sense of generous horizons and spaciousness,” to quote the much-honored editor. Ranging in style from abstract to photorealistic, the 44 paintings include still lifes, landscapes, portraits of people or wildlife, evocations of folk art, pop art, or expressionistic studies in color. The poetry, being all free verse and, with a single exception (plus scattered phrases), in English, is less varied in voice or imagery, but flows smoothly from one selection to the next. Despite recurring references to snakes, heat, pecans, and the sound of running water, it deals less with distinctively regional topics than with such universal themes as the immigrant experience, small-town customers at the Dairy Queen, vivid childhood memories, personal reflections, absent friends, or contemplations of nature. Except for Pat Mora, Sandra Cisneros, and a handful of others, these poets and artists have had little or no exposure nationwide; Nye has done them a real service with this deep (though not wide) cross-section. (biographical notes, indexes) (Poetry. YA)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-051178-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2004

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THE BUG IN TEACHER'S COFFEE

AND OTHER SCHOOL POEMS

PLB 0-06-027940-0 Dakos’s collection of 23 poems from the perspective of items found at school satisfies the I Can Read requirements of simplicity and word repetition, but may not lure beginning readers back for a second time. The material is uninspiring: The school’s front door says, “Keep me shut,/I have the flu,/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Keep me shut,/I have the flu.” A book sings “Happy Birthday” to a ruler, then sings “Happy Unbirthday” when the ruler says that it is not its birthday. Also appearing are a couple of clever items—one on a kidnapped pencil and another on a comb pulling hazardous duty—along with some typographic elements that amiably convey the idea that words are malleable; Reed’s illustrations possess geniality and character, making some inanimate objects very personable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027939-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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ISN'T MY NAME MAGICAL?

SISTER AND BROTHER POEMS

Leaving behind much of the lyricism found in his previous collections, Berry (First Palm Trees, 1997, etc.) pens poems in the voices of a sister, Dreena (who has the magical name), and brother, Delroy, on their experiences in the family with a dour sister, mother (“A teacher, Mom has lots of pens/and home and school jobs”), and father, who “drives a train,/sometimes in a heavy jacket.” This father is not really poem-material: “And, sometimes, Dad brings us gifts./Sometimes, he plays our piano.” The brother, Delroy, who tenders three autobiographical poems, can’t sit still and can’t stop talking about it. There is a good declarative poem, about a strong friendship he shares with another boy. Otherwise, he is dancing like a madman (“doing body-break and body-pop”) or skateboarding under the influence of a fevered imagination (“I want one owl on each my shoulder/hooting out as I leap each river”). In her first book, Hehenberger takes a literal route, anchoring every poem in domestic scenes of family and friends; the deep colors and finely sculpted forms become set pieces for Berry’s earthbound images. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-80013-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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