The poetry here is well-done, and although there is no real topical or stylistic cohesion, the assortment offers something...

CLIMBING SHADOWS

POEMS FOR CHILDREN

This collection of 20 poems inspired by the poet’s volunteer work in a kindergarten lunchroom is united by authorship; entries address a variety of topics and are expressed in multiple styles.

The subject matter is generally accessible and of interest, including family vignettes (“The Snow Is Melting”), feelings (“afterschool”), animals (“a spider way of thinking,” “Owl Secrets”), and toys (“My Cars Never Sleep”). Length and format vary too: “Little Yellow House” is only nine words long; others have several stanzas. Not all utilize traditional capitalization and punctuation. Some layouts are straightforward, left-justified and single- or double-spaced; others feature irregular spaces between lines or between phrases on the same line but are not quite concrete poetry. Figurative language is especially effective in “The Envelope,” a litany of ways a child thinks of their mother. Most read well out loud, with appropriate scansion and without the pitfall of forced rhyme. Derby’s sophisticated illustrations, done in watercolor, digital collage, and India ink, have a subdued tone and leave room for the imagination; some are simple, small vignettes on white space, while others feature gently washy backgrounds.

The poetry here is well-done, and although there is no real topical or stylistic cohesion, the assortment offers something for readers with varying preferences. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-095-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A thought-provoking way of looking at the world, and imaginative kids will love it.

CAN YOU SEE ME?

A BOOK ABOUT FEELING SMALL

A journey into the world of big and little and a nudge to think outside the box.

This whimsical, quirky, and engaging picture book, a Spanish import by a Turkish creator, takes readers on an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland–type exploration of perceptive relativity. What is little to one may be big to another; if readers were as strong as ants, they could lift rhinos; if they could jump as high as fleas, they could reach the top of the Eiffel Tower—these are just some of the thought-provoking ideas presented. The narrative (appealingly hand-lettered) is accompanied by collaged illustrations that are just as whimsical and that cleverly build as the story unfolds. “If your foot could grow as fast as a caterpillar can during its life cycle… / …your foot would be 3 times larger after just a few days. / It would keep growing until…it would not fit in a school bus. Like this elephant.” Huh? Readers may ask. But the introduction of the pachyderm leads to the idea of an elephant’s big footprint—which, if it filled with water, could be habitat for 60 different species. While the story unfolds in what appears to be a rather dizzying array of free-form thoughts, it holds itself together—just—although readers will want to go through it more than once to grasp all the clever connections. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A thought-provoking way of looking at the world, and imaginative kids will love it. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0837-6

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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An important contribution to this volatile chapter in U.S. and Mexican American history

SOLDIER FOR EQUALITY

JOSÉ DE LA LUZ SÁENZ AND THE GREAT WAR

In 1918, José de la Luz Sáenz left his teaching job and enlisted in the United States Army, where he joined thousands of other Mexican American soldiers.

“He wanted to demonstrate that Mexican Americans loved America and would give their lives fighting for it,” writes Tonatiuh. Luz felt that the white people of Texas would start treating Tejanos (Texans of Mexican descent) fairly after seeing their sacrifice. Once in France, Luz taught himself French and was assigned to the intelligence office to translate communications, but he was not given credit or promotions for this vital work. After the war, he and other Tejano veterans found prejudice against them unchanged. They organized and became civil rights leaders. In 1929, 10 years after the end of World War I, they formed the League of United Latin American Citizens. Together they fought against school segregation, racism, prejudice, and “for the ideals of democracy and justice.” The author’s insightful use of Sáenz’s war-diary entries boldly introduces this extraordinary American’s triumphs and struggles. In Tonatiuh’s now-trademark illustrations, Luz crouches with other stylized doughboys in French trenches as shells explode in no man’s land and mourns a fallen fellow Mexican in a French cemetery. Extensive backmatter includes an author’s note, war timeline, timeline of LULAC’s successful civil rights lawsuits, glossary, and bibliography.

An important contribution to this volatile chapter in U.S. and Mexican American history . (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3682-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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