There are some pleasing poems among the 17 offered here on the flora and fauna of the Florida Everglades, their habitat and their habits, and the author’s affection is evident in every one. Unfortunately, at least as many suffer from forced whimsy, inconsistent meter or muddled information. Focus instead on the quilt-art images with which the poems are paired. Although there seems to be no particular connection between the subjects of the poems and the medium chosen to portray them, some of the textile art is striking—sculptural, full of detail, lovely embroidery and clever use of fabric, pattern and color. An acknowledgement lets readers know that a Smithsonian Zoological Society ornithologist has vetted the poems. There is no note about the art or its creation. Occasional factual asides on the pictured wildlife are tucked here and there, but the creatures are not labeled. Older readers will be most able to appreciate the art. Birders and South Floridians might be the best audience. (Poetry. 9+)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59078-352-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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This sumptuously designed gathering of poetry and paintings from 140 Texans (or former Texans) will lead readers not so much to that state specifically, as to a state of mind: a “sense of generous horizons and spaciousness,” to quote the much-honored editor. Ranging in style from abstract to photorealistic, the 44 paintings include still lifes, landscapes, portraits of people or wildlife, evocations of folk art, pop art, or expressionistic studies in color. The poetry, being all free verse and, with a single exception (plus scattered phrases), in English, is less varied in voice or imagery, but flows smoothly from one selection to the next. Despite recurring references to snakes, heat, pecans, and the sound of running water, it deals less with distinctively regional topics than with such universal themes as the immigrant experience, small-town customers at the Dairy Queen, vivid childhood memories, personal reflections, absent friends, or contemplations of nature. Except for Pat Mora, Sandra Cisneros, and a handful of others, these poets and artists have had little or no exposure nationwide; Nye has done them a real service with this deep (though not wide) cross-section. (biographical notes, indexes) (Poetry. YA)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-051178-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2004

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