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The images in this compact collection are appropriately misty—colors and shapes seen through rain. The brief poems cover many styles, including a number of translated haiku, but they are all evocative and easily grasped. Arranged by season, they follow the rain through autumn, winter, spring and summer. The compiler’s own poem, “Black Cat”—“Black cat / at a white / window-pane / watches a rose / run red / in the rain”—sits on a stark white page, the black cat curling in the lower-right corner, the window with rose in the upper left. The swirls, swoops and geometric shapes are all softened by rain. Other poets included run from Robert Frost to Issa, Hilda Conkling to Lilian Moore, R. Olivares Figueroa (translated from Spanish) to Sigbjørn Obstfelder (translated from Norwegian). Frogs and watermelons, children and shadows, owls and plum blossoms appear in these pages. Soft and refreshing. (introduction, about haiku translations) (Poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-57091-716-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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Every educator knows the bathroom pass is an escape route for students. While neither condemning nor condoning that...

Dakos adds another collection to the poetry shelf, this one taking its inspiration from the school bathroom.

Every educator knows the bathroom pass is an escape route for students. While neither condemning nor condoning that behavior, Dakos’ poetry explores the many reasons kids might need that release: to get away from a bully, to chat with a friend, to cry about something happening at home, to celebrate a victory or agonize over a defeat and, of course, to use the toilet. Standouts among the silly poems include "Trapped!," about a boy stuck in a stall during recess and "The Bathroom Dance," which speaks for itself. The highlights of the serious offerings focus on telling secrets ("Blabbermouth") and divorce ("Crying in the Bathroom"). Many, while outwardly funny, challenge kids to delve a little deeper: “We were in the bathroom, / the bully and I. / He punched me, / I punched him back, / and that’s when he cried!” While there is some potty humor, Dakos keeps it from getting too disgusting, and several poems focus on good bathroom hygiene. Reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s drawings, Beech’s vignettes masterfully capture the essence of each poem, and children will be able to read his characters’ facial expressions and body language like an open book.

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8075-2675-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2011

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The more engaging musical version is available separately through iTunes and other distributors. You won’t hear the typos.

Purposeful and saccharine-sweet, these poems on religious and secular topics take on new life on the accompanying CD.

Wharnsby, a musician, has an appealing folk style, but the poetry on the page sounds forced and often trite. To interest young children in diversity, he writes such lines as “People are a lot like candy! / There’re [sic] all so different and dandy.” Describing “Piles of Smiles” that have been hidden away, he laments: “Someone misplaced the key, / causing global tragedy.” The poems range from the personal “I had a Chirpy Chick,” in which the narrator focuses on love for a pet and love for her grandmother, to a didactic poem entitled “The Mosque.” Typographical mistakes abound, with the use of “their” for “they’re” in the poem “Prayer” and in the example above, among others. Vibrantly colored flowers and plants, echoed in the handsome prayer rugs that illustrate “Prayer,” curl their way around multiracial children and adults. Most adult women wear hijab, as do some girls. With more and more Muslim families in North American communities, there is certainly a need for books of this type. Unfortunately, as with much other religious poetry collections for children, the message takes precedence over the words.

The more engaging musical version is available separately through iTunes and other distributors. You won’t hear the typos. (Poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-86037-444-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kube Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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