A REVOLUTIONARY FIELD TRIP

POEMS OF COLONIAL AMERICA

Linked by Alley’s amiably humorous scenes of a small class, led by a Ms. Frizzle–like teacher, trooping through a reconstructed colonial village and sampling hands-on activities, Katz’s poems—some rhymed, some in free verse—open windows on daily life in those olden days. The young visitors reflectively comment on such diverse experiences as dipping candles and walking on cobblestones, playing familiar games (“Rolling hoops and flying kites, / Ice skating, bird-nesting, snowball fights”), sampling unfamiliar dishes (“Hush puppies, brown betty, flummery, crowdy, / Pocket soup, syllabub, apple pandowdy—”), mingling with the dancers at a powwow demonstration, and participating in a traditional Native corn-planting ritual. Sandwiched between maps of the Eastern seaboard that show both indigenous populations and early European settlements, pleasingly varied in tempo and tone, these 20 poems form a hard-to-resist invitation to “taste a spoonful of gooseberry fool, / Hundreds of years away from school.” (glossary) (Poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-84004-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2004

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THE STORY OF EASTER

First published in 1968 and newly illustrated by Vitale, this is a history of the Christian celebration of Easter that, after briefly recounting the story of the Resurrection, links the holiday to other spring festivals, covers the ancient custom of giving the gift of an egg (a symbol of the new life of spring), and includes contemporary customs, such as the fashionable stroll down New York City's Fifth Avenue after church on that day. Also included are instructions for egg decoration and a recipe for hot cross buns. Even the recipe demonstrates the clear, informative prose of Fisher, whose expert organization leads from topic to topic. Vitale's illustrations are a marvel; each full-page picture is filled with details that reflect the times, the flora, and the culture of the era shown, colored with a range of appropriate earth tones. Every element of design makes this an inviting addition to the holiday shelf, even for those already owning the original book with Ati Forberg's illustrations. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-027296-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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FOOTPRINTS ON THE ROOF

POEMS ABOUT THE EARTH

Nineteen poems, some rhymed, are paired with So’s (Countdown to Spring, p. 50, etc.) ink drawings. The poems are sometimes dry and sometimes didactic, but most are straightforward and occasionally giddy. So’s art is by turns whimsical, wild, or reticent. The title comes from “Burrows” a poem about the creatures that live under the “roof” of the earth: rabbits, foxes, snakes. The image of a dragon under the volcano in “Dormant Dragons” is beautifully realized as So turns wash and squiggle into the beast. “Winter Solstice” connects a wintry day in America with the first day of summer in Australia most charmingly. In “Go-Betweens”: “They issue warnings / They offer praise / This is trees’ work / and they do it with such uncomplaining grace / it never seems like work at all.” A swath of soft ink and a perfectly rendered rose reflect the turning of the year in “Summer Solstice”—“The richest garden / the greenest trees / will have a different form / wearing withered leaves like memories / of days when it was warm.” Esbensen’s venerable Cold Stars and Fireflies (1984) makes a nice accompaniment. (Poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-81094-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2002

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