FALLING UP

Well, finally. In this long-overdue follow-up to A Light In The Attic (1981), Silverstein once again displays the talent for wordplay and idea-play that keeps his poetry evergreen. In bumptious verse that seldom runs more than three or four stanzas, he introduces a gallery of daffy characters, including the Terrible Toy-Eating Tookle, a hamburger named James, blissfully oblivious Headphone Harold, and the so-attractive folk attending the "Rotten Convention''—"Mr. Mud and the Creepin' Crud / And the Drooler and Belchin' Bob,'' to name but a few. The humor has become more alimentary with the years, but the lively, deceptively simple art hasn't changed a bit. Its puzzled-looking young people (with an occasional monster or grimacing grown-up thrown in) provide visual punchlines and make silly situations explicit; a short ten-year-old "grows another foot''—from the top of his head—and a worried child is assured that there's no mouse in her hair (it's an elephant). Readers chortling their way through this inspired assemblage of cautionary tales, verbal hijinks, and thoughtful observations, deftly inserted, will find the temptation to read parts of it aloud irresistible. (index) (Poetry. 7+)

Pub Date: May 31, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-024802-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Read it; gift it; use it to challenge, protect, and grow.

WOKE

A YOUNG POET'S CALL TO JUSTICE

Poets Browne (Black Girl Magic, illustrated by Jess X. Snow, 2018), Acevedo (The Poet X, 2018), and Gatwood (Life of the Party, 2019) team up to offer a collection that calls young readers to awareness and justice.

Browne’s introduction explains what it means to be woke—“aware of your surroundings”—and connects this awareness to historical movements for justice, stating, “this is where our freedom begins.” The poems are assigned subject headings located next to the page numbers, in nearly alphabetical order, for easy access when flipping through this slim volume for inspiration. Some poems cover quiet topics that nourish individuals and relationships, such as body positivity, forgiveness, individuality, and volunteerism. Other poems are louder, calling for lifted voices. In “Activism, Everywhere,” Browne writes, “It is resisting to be comfortable / When we all have yet to feel safe and free”; her protest poem, titled “Right To, After Claude McKay,” powerfully echoes McKay’s historic verses while reversing the premise: “If we must live, let it not be in silence.” A resistance poem by Acevedo urges readers to “Rock the Boat,” and Gatwood’s poem on privilege asks, “What’s in My Toolbox?” Identity issues are covered too, with poems on disability, gender, immigration, and intersectionality. Each of the 24 poems is an irresistible invitation to take up space in community and in society, and each is eminently recitable, taking its own place in the spoken-word tradition. Taylor’s bold and colorful illustrations complement the poems without distracting from their power; Jason Reynolds contributes a foreword.

Read it; gift it; use it to challenge, protect, and grow. (Picture book/poetry. 8-18)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31120-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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