STEADY HANDS

POEMS ABOUT WORK

Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” receives an invigorating revival in this poetry collection that illuminates the pressures and pleasures of work, including some 34 career choices. “Morning” conveys the vigorous energy work demands through crisp imagery and dynamic phrases: “Engines hum / heels click / and doors thud / behind ambitions.” Poems often describe the ordinary and technical components of the job; “Librarian” features a male librarian’s preparation for his boys-only book club. Others elucidate the surprising motivations behind workers’ chosen career paths; “Dog Walker” reveals that a former attorney sought this less stressful career because “the predictable company of dogs / ...didn’t give him nightmares / or cold sweats / the way standing before / a glowering judge and jury did.” Halsey and Addy’s illustrations match the emotions of the varied subjects, the mixed-media art exuding a muted grittiness as characters perform their daily tasks. Compiled photographs, papers and household objects create multifaceted collages and textured backdrops, and the result is an intriguing, albeit offbeat, examination of the world of work. (Picture book/poetry. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-618-90351-1

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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THE BUG IN TEACHER'S COFFEE

AND OTHER SCHOOL POEMS

PLB 0-06-027940-0 Dakos’s collection of 23 poems from the perspective of items found at school satisfies the I Can Read requirements of simplicity and word repetition, but may not lure beginning readers back for a second time. The material is uninspiring: The school’s front door says, “Keep me shut,/I have the flu,/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Keep me shut,/I have the flu.” A book sings “Happy Birthday” to a ruler, then sings “Happy Unbirthday” when the ruler says that it is not its birthday. Also appearing are a couple of clever items—one on a kidnapped pencil and another on a comb pulling hazardous duty—along with some typographic elements that amiably convey the idea that words are malleable; Reed’s illustrations possess geniality and character, making some inanimate objects very personable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027939-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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ANIMAL POEMS OF THE IGUAZÚ / ANIMALARIO DEL IGUAZÚ

This eye-catching combination of brilliant illustrations and eloquently crafted bilingual poems celebrates the animal life and natural beauty of the rainforest. Alarcón reflects his love for the biological diversity of Argentina’s Iguazú Waterfalls National Park in graceful free-verse poems expressed in the voices of birds, lizards, jaguar, monkeys, river turtles, giant ants and even the “pesty mosquitos.” The simple words—often playfully integrated into the illustrations as shaped poems—stress the natural balance of the Iguazú and remind readers that “for all of us / wild animals and / plants of the rainforest / there are no limits / only one Earth / without borders.” The multimedia illustrations feature lush, glowing paints that depict the animals (including humans) set against a backdrop of cut-paper strips that comprise the rainforest’s verdant growth. A concluding verse, “Same Green Fate,” explicitly states the overall theme: “protect all of us / for the Earth’s fate / for your own sake / let’s make the world / a true Ybirá Retá— / a Land of the Trees.” Stunning. (Picture book/poetry. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-89239-225-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2008

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