The virtues of reading and playing with words collide in Mora and Colón’s latest collaboration.
Mora begins with an appeal: “Let’s read, let’s write, let’s explore galore!” The subsequent series of poems demonstrates the dual importance of bookjoy, “the fun of reading,” and wordjoy, “the fun of writing.” For the latter, see the second poem, entitled “Collecting Words,” which encourages readers to treasure words like “ding-dong” and “sssssssssssssnake.” Some poems follow a didactic arc (“Writing Secrets,” for example, aims to reassure budding writers), but most bask in wordplay and whimsy with aplomb. “Our Cottage in the Woods” focuses on a mother and her child in the woods, the garden, the “cool creek” as they watch hummingbirds and bake and read together. In the wonderful “Antelope Canyon,” the author describes the creation of a canyon, with “waterfalls / buffing sharp corners into curves, / careening around boulders.” In the accompanying illustration, Colón’s artwork shows a dark-skinned child at the bottom of a vibrant canyon gazing up at the night sky while an antelope does the same from above. Overall, the superb pictures feature a racially diverse cast—often with elongated, lively bodies—and landscapes full of curves and curls in bright, earthy colors. Not all poems hold up well, but the author peppers Spanish phrases here and there to add some new layers to a gratifying collection.
Joy indeed. (Picture book/poetry. 6-12)