ANEESA LEE AND THE WEAVER'S GIFT

PLB 0-688-15998-2 From Grimes (My Man Blue, p. 721, etc.), 13 brief poems about the art of weaving, literally and figuratively. The poems describe the art and craft of weaving including gathering natural materials for making dyes, spinning yarn, warping the board, dressing the loom, and completing the tapestry. Then there is Aneesa Lee, “a weave/of black/and white/and Japanese/a blend that sometimes/led to teasing,” in a poem that exhibits the poet’s larger theme, of how love weaves families together and how the craft of weaving links the past and present, connecting people in “a community of cloth.” Some of the poems sing; others are awkward and trip on the tongue. Bryan’s illustrations smooth out the difficulties, for each poem and drawing is bordered in a narrow band of brightly colored weaving that unifies the book. The illustrations of Aneesa, her family, and the weaving process contain bright threads of unexpected color, creating another kind of tapestry. Some pictures achieve a shimmering intensity: those created for “Sunset” and “Once” are so full of motion, they hardly lie still on the page. (glossary) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-15997-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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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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MARIANA AND THE MERCHILD

A FOLKTALE FROM CHILE

A resonant, evocative tale about a lonely woman and the child of the sea who becomes her dearest companion. Mariana, an old woman, lives by the sea that is a mother to her, providing her with food for the table, driftwood for her fire, and music for her soul. But she is lonely, for the village children mock her and run away. One day after a wild storm when the sea-wolves prowl, she finds a crab shell; within it is a tiny merchild, with pearly skin and hair “the color of the setting sun.” Mariana, at the advice of the Wise Woman, places the merbaby where her mother, the Sea Spirit, can see she is safe; every day the Sea Spirit comes to feed her daughter and to teach her. Mariana cares for her the rest of the time, even though she knows the merchild must eventually return to the sea. The village children come to play with the merchild, and warm to Mariana. When the merchild does finally rejoin her mother, she returns daily to Mariana with gifts and greetings. Conveyed in the emotionally rich telling are the rhythm of waves, filial devotion, the loving care of children, and the knowledge of beasts. The beautiful illustrations are full of the laps and curves of the ocean, the brilliant colors of sea and sky, and the gorgeous reds and dusky browns of fabric, interiors, skin tones, and shells. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8028-5204-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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