LET'S HAVE A BITE!

A BANQUET OF BEASTLY RHYMES

Thirty-three poems about antic animals, matched with equally madcap illustrations. "The Zoo VIP (Very Idle Panda)" describes how "The giant panda at the zoo / Just sits and chomps / On fresh bamboo." "A Busy Day for Goslings" follows a mother goose's outing with her brood Pip, Pop, Peep and Squeak. Other highlights include "Natty Nat" (an impeccably dressed narwhal), "Mean Cuisine" (a goat chef who cooks up crazy concoctions from foraged items), "Theodore's Great Pitch" (a lemur door-to-door salesman) and, with a nod to Ogden Nash, "The Rhino's Wine" (a grape-harvesting family led by Amos the rhinoceros): "The wine of Amos is the last word: / Maqnifique in its ferocity: / The essence of rhinocerocity." Bunny, emu, seal, crocodile, dingo, octopus and vole are among the other subjects. Searle's accompanying pictures show most of the animals in action; impish details and busy backgrounds suggest Gahan Wilson or Quentin Blake. The quality of the verse is uneven, but there are several excellent selections in this generous compendium. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59020-409-2

Page Count: 78

Publisher: Duckworth/Overlook

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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A poem about the pandemic with vivid illustrations and a strong environmental message.

AND THE PEOPLE STAYED HOME

During a period of quarantine, people discover new ways to live—and new lessons about how to care for the planet—in this debut picture book.

In this work’s poem, O’Meara describes lockdowns experienced by many across the world during the first days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Beginning with the title phrase, the author discusses quiet activities of solitude and togetherness as well as more boisterous ways of interacting. These times of being apart give people a new perspective, and when they reunite, “they grieved their losses, / and made new choices” to restore the planet. The spare verse allows the illustrations by Di Cristofaro and Pereda to take center stage. The colorful, slightly abstract cartoons depict a rainbow of people and pets, many of them living in apartments but some residing in larger, greener spaces. Images of nature healing show the author’s vision of hope for the future. While this was written in March and originally published as an online poem, the lack of an explicit mention of the reason behind the lockdowns (and the omission of the experiences of essential workers) could offer readers an opportunity to imagine a planetary healing beyond the pandemic that inspired the piece. The accessible prose and beautiful images make this a natural selection for young readers, but older ones may appreciate the work’s deeper meaning.

A poem about the pandemic with vivid illustrations and a strong environmental message.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73476-178-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tra Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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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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