With a little modification, this is a lively and uplifting poem to share aloud with children, or for adults and children to...

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HUGS AND KISSES WITH LOTS OF LOVE

A short lyrical celebration of innocence, childhood wonder and the constancy of family love.

Favoring impressionism over narrative, Meyers’ paean to the joys of childhood packs a lot of picturesque imagery into its 37 lines. From loved ones to games, from junk food to elves, from the wonders of nature to the comforts of home, Meyers covers the gamut of childhood adventure, imagination and pleasure. The idealized childhood envisioned by this poem is one of unfettered curiosity, active exploration and engagement with the world and unconditional love. Though no singular narrative voice asserts itself amid the rapid-fire succession of images, the refrain of “Hugs and Kisses with Lots of Love” that closes each of the eight stanzas suggests a giver of hugs and kisses, a kindly singer behind the song, and reveals the song itself to be an invocation of blessing intended for her young listeners. Employing a heterometric rhythmic structure, Meyers produces some interesting and fun lines in unexpected ways. For instance, by interspersing some trochees and using feminine rhyme, she is able to shape dactyls, traditionally associated with serious and elegiac verse, into lighthearted lines such as “Marshmallows crispy all gooey and yummy / Open your mouth and fill-up your tummy.” Not every line works quite so well, but the prevalence of trochaic lines—long used in nursery rhymes and famously by William Blake in Songs of Innocence and Experience—along with an abundance of action-evoking present participial forms and a semiregular rhyme scheme, make reading this poem aloud a pleasurable shared experience—with one unfortunate exception. The metrically dissonant refrain, repeated eight times throughout the poem, tends to bring each stanza up short, jarring the reader from the fun and fast-paced flow of the previous lines. The poem reads significantly better if all iterations of that line, except the last, are skipped.

With a little modification, this is a lively and uplifting poem to share aloud with children, or for adults and children to recite together.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-1434965516

Page Count: 8

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2011

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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