The lucky children in Mrs. Brown’s class are certainly not fieldtrip-deprived. They visit a wide variety of museums where they experience paintings, sculpture, mummies, dinosaurs, armor, clocks, and much more. They tour a train museum, a candy museum, and an exhibit of live butterflies. The poems are evocations of wide-eyed inquisitiveness and open wonder, as well as just plain fun. One child is fascinated and moved by a 2,000-year-old mummy whom she imagines whispering to her about her life in Ancient Egypt. Another child feels the permanent stillness of the sculptures, the mystery of Degas’ Little Dancer, and the inclination to step into the world inside a painting. The children scream and shout in excitement as they move through the interactive exhibits. A child complains that her partner keeps spoiling her concentration and plans some revenge. Katz’s (Snowdrops for Cousin Ruth, 1998) selection of words and phrases are at once remarkably precocious and realistically childlike. There is “wow” and “ugh” and “wait till you see this.” But there are also some lovely images. At the butterfly exhibit, a child “holds out her hand to flying jewels.” In the medieval armor hall, a child listens to the silence and breathes “Time instead of air.” The words flow unrhymed, joyous, clear, and sharp. Alley’s (Little Flower, p. 344, etc.) delightful cartoon-like illustrations emphasize the fun and the action, as they surround and move through the text. The layout is eye-catching. Endpapers depict museum “brochures,” the introductory poem appears before the title page, which is on the left side, and a school bus seems to be driving right into the table of contents. At the end, Katz provides a state-by-state list of unusual museums. A totally delightful romp (Poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-82970-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002



A lackluster collection of verse enlivened by a few bright spots.

Poems on various topics by the actor/screenwriter and his kids.

In collaboration with his now-grown children—particularly daughter Erin, who adds gently humorous vignettes and spot art to each entry—Bob Odenkirk, best known for his roles in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, dishes up a poetic hodgepodge that is notably loose jointed in the meter and rhyme departments. The story also too often veers from child-friendly subjects (bedtime-delaying tactics, sympathy for a dog with the zoomies) to writerly whines (“The be-all and end-all of perfection in scribbling, / no matter and no mind to any critical quibbling”). Some of the less-than-compelling lines describe how a “plane ride is an irony / with a strange and wondrous duplicity.” A few gems are buried in the bunch, however, like the comforting words offered to a bedroom monster and a frightened invisible friend, not to mention an invitation from little Willy Whimble, who lives in a tuna can but has a heart as “big as can be. / Come inside, / stay for dinner. / I’ll roast us a pea!” They’re hard to find, though. Notwithstanding nods to Calef Brown, Shel Silverstein, and other gifted wordsmiths in the acknowledgments, the wordplay in general is as artificial as much of the writing: “I scratched, then I scrutched / and skrappled away, / scritching my itch with great / pan-a-ché…” Human figures are light-skinned throughout.

A lackluster collection of verse enlivened by a few bright spots. (Poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9780316438506

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023



A little girl is going with her daddy to visit the home of Langston Hughes. She too is a poet who writes about the loves of her life—her mommy and daddy, hip-hop, hopscotch, and double-dutch, but decidedly not kissing games. Langston is her inspiration because his poems make her “dreams run wild.” In simple, joyful verse Perdomo tells of this “Harlem girl” from “Harlem world” whose loving, supportive father tells her she is “Langston’s genius child.” The author’s own admiration for Hughes’s artistry and accomplishments is clearly felt in the voice of this glorious child. Langston’s spirit is a gentle presence throughout the description of his East 127th Street home and his method of composing his poetry sitting by the window. The presentation is stunning. Each section of the poem is part of a two-page spread. Text, in yellow, white, or black, is placed either within the illustrations or in large blocks of color along side them. The last page of text is a compilation of titles of Hughes’s poems printed in shades of gray in a myriad of fonts. Collier’s (Martin’s Big Words, 2001, etc.) brilliantly complex watercolor-and-collage illustrations provide the perfect visual complement to the work. From the glowing vitality of the little girl, to the vivid scenes of jazz-age Harlem, to the compelling portrait of Langston at work, to the reverential peak into Langston’s home, the viewer’s eye is constantly drawn to intriguing bits and pieces while never losing the sense of the whole. In this year of Langston Hughes’s centennial, this work does him great honor. (Poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6744-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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