A musical treat for parents as well as their children.

READ REVIEW

LEAVE YOUR SLEEP

A COLLECTION OF CLASSIC CHILDREN'S POETRY

An American singer-songwriter’s two-CD album becomes a children’s poetry collection.

For her 2010 hit album with the same title, Merchant composed music for 30 19th- and 20th-century British and American poems, some written for children and some written about childhood. For this volume, she’s selected 19 of those poems (18 from the CD set and one other), describing them as “representing the long conversation I had with my daughter during the first six years of her life.” Both traditional and modern in style, they range widely in subject and mood. There are examples of wordplay by Prelutsky and Nash, nursery rhymes, verses by Stevenson and Lear, poems by cummings and Graves and more. Not all the texts, nor their authors, will be familiar. Not really “classic,” but classy, what they have in common is splendid language and McClintock’s engaging illustrations. Done with pen and ink and gently colored (except for a flamboyantly dressed giantess resting against a red velvet curtain), these detailed drawings add to the old-fashioned look. They vary from tiny vignettes and character sketches to scenes stretching across a spread. The end matter includes black-and-white photographs of the poets as well as music credits for the special-edition CD that will be included.

A musical treat for parents as well as their children. (Poetry/CD. 5 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-374-34368-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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An edge-of-your-seat read.

THE CANYON'S EDGE

A girl’s birthdays mark parallel tragedies for her broken family unit.

Last year’s celebration at a restaurant ended in an unexplained public shooting, and Nora’s mother died. She and her father are still wrestling with their trauma, Nora with a confirmed diagnosis of PTSD. For this year’s outing, Nora and her father head into the deserts of the Southwest on a rock-climbing expedition. They descend into a 40-foot deep slot canyon, then hike along inside until a flash flood barrels through the canyon, washing away all their supplies…and Nora’s father. She’s left to survive this symbolic and living nightmare on her own. Thankfully, she can make continuous use of her parents’ thorough training in desert knowledge. Brief sections of prose bracket the meat of the story, which is in verse, a choice highly effective in setting tone and emotional resonance for the heightened situation. Bowling’s poems run a gamut of forms, transforming the literal shape of the text just as the canyon walls surrounding Nora shape her trek. The voice of Nora’s therapist breaks through occasionally, providing a counterpoint perspective. Nora is White while two characters seen in memories have brown skin. The narrative also names local Native peoples. Elements of the survival story and psychological thriller combine with strong symbolism to weave a winding, focused, stunning narrative ultimately about the search for healing.

An edge-of-your-seat read. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49469-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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An emotional and powerful story with soaring poetry.

THE LAND OF THE CRANES

A fourth grader navigates the complicated world of immigration.

Betita Quintero loves the stories her father tells about the Aztlán (the titular land of cranes), how their people emigrated south but were fabled to return. Betita also loves to write. She considers words like “intonation,” “alchemy,” and “freedom” to be almost magic, using those and other words to create picture poems to paint her feelings, just like her fourth grade teacher, Ms. Martinez, taught her. But there are also words that are scary, like “cartel,” a word that holds the reason why her family had to emigrate from México to the United States. Even though Betita and her parents live in California, a “sanctuary state,” the seemingly constant raids and deportations are getting to be more frequent under the current (unnamed) administration. Thinking her family is safe because they have a “petition…to fly free,” Betita is devastated when her dad is taken away by ICE. Without their father, the lives of the Quinteros, already full of fear and uncertainty, are further derailed when they make the small mistake of missing a highway exit. Salazar’s verse novel presents contemporary issues such as “zero tolerance” policies, internalized racism, and mass deportations through Betita’s innocent and hopeful eyes, making the complex topics easy to understand through passionate, lyrical verses.

An emotional and powerful story with soaring poetry. (Verse fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-34380-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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