Scintillating! (permissions, acknowledgments) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

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FIREFLY JULY

A YEAR OF VERY SHORT POEMS

Choosing from works spanning three centuries, Janeczko artfully arranges 36 elegant poems among the four seasons.

With each poem’s relationship to its season often subtle or tangential, Janeczko avoids the trite repetition flawing some seasonal poetry collections. The initial poem, by Cid Corman for “Spring,” lauds a dawn scene: “Daybreak reminds us— / the hills have arrived just in / time to celebrate.” Emily Dickinson’s poem shimmers in the “Summer” section: “The Moon was but a Chin of Gold / A Night or two ago —/ And now she turns Her perfect Face / Upon the World below….” (The moon’s presence shines throughout, in eight poems.) Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, whose published 2003 collaboration is represented by two poems, offer this autumnal musing: “What is it the wind has lost / that she keeps looking for / under each leaf?” The winter poems are snowy, but they are also laced with fog; nature scenes alternate with depictions of a subway, a rusting truck, harbor boats and more. Sweet’s effervescent mixed-media collages include signature elements like graph paper and saturated pinks; the large format engenders some expansive compositions, such as one showing the curve of the Earth near an enormous, smiling full moon. Inventive details abound, too: The last spread shows a child asleep under a crazy quilt that incorporates motifs from all four seasons—a perfect visual ending.

Scintillating! (permissions, acknowledgments) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4842-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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Both playful and enlightening, period.

A BUNCH OF PUNCTUATION

A collection of peppy poems and clever pictures explains different forms of punctuation.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s “A Punctuation Tale” kicks off the proceedings with a punny description of a day full of punctuation; goodnight is “cuddled / in quotation marks.” Ensuing poems discuss the comma, the apostrophe, the dash (“A subdued dude / in tweet and text / he signals what / is coming next”), the colon, the exclamation point, and ellipses. Allan Wolf’s poem about this last is called “…” and begins, “The silent ellipsis… / replaces…words missed.” Prince Redcloud’s “Question Marks” is particularly delightful, with the question “Why?” dancing diagonally down in stair steps. The emphatic answer is a repeated “Because!” Other poems pay tribute to quotation marks, the hyphen, and the period. Michele Kruger explains “The Purpose of Parentheses”: “inside a pair / ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) / of slender curves / we’ll hold your few / inserted words.” The final poem is editor Hopkins’ own, “Lines Written for You to Think About” (inspired by Carl Sandburg), urging young readers to write their own verses employing (what else?) punctuation. The 12 poets included work with a variety of devices and styles for an always-fresh feel. Bloch’s illustrations are delightfully surprising, both illustrating each poem’s key points and playfully riffing on the punctuation itself.

Both playful and enlightening, period. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59078-994-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A lovely foundation for forays into poetry and for building a love of buildings.

CONSTRUCTION PEOPLE

Fourteen poems capture a skyscraper’s construction, from beginning to completion, in vivid detail.

In the first verse, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, the nascent high-rise, narrating from an empty lot, excitedly contemplates its future: the workers and materials its construction will entail and how it will eventually ascend to lofty heights; in the last, also by Dotlich, the finished structure proudly announces its presence on the “spectacular skyline.” The remaining robust poems, each by a different contributor and presented on double-page spreads, describe the various skilled jobs and professionals involved in a skyscraper’s planning and building and also—take note, vehicle mavens—the trucks required at a construction site. Apart from enjoying jaunty rhymes that scan well and include numerous delightful turns of phrase, readers gain insight into the many workers who collaborate on a new building’s successful, safe skyward climb. Additionally, children will build their vocabularies with nifty words like “glaziers” and “welders.” Onomatopoeia is used to good, dramatic effect where applicable. Lively, appealing artwork grounds this collection: Many of its action-filled illustrations also highlight verticals and horizontals. Women are well represented throughout as skilled, busy professionals in various nonstereotypical or supervisory positions. Workers are depicted with varied skin tones, hairstyles, and racial presentations, including the female Asian architect and her daughter, recurring characters. Endpapers are rich ocher, the color of soil.

A lovely foundation for forays into poetry and for building a love of buildings. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-361-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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