Fourteen short, surreal poems originally published in Russian over 35 years ago see their first English versions, paired to dark, scratchy paintings featuring angular people and farm animals in countrified dress. The titular horse, depicted as a fastidious prancer with spots and a stylish perm, leads the way: “A horse has four shoes with black rubber soles, / Two of them new, but the others have holes. / If the weather is fair, no rain in the news, / The horse likes to wear her best pair of shoes.” Elsewhere, a couple crack nuts with their telescope and throw the shells off their roof, a curious cow confronts a stubborn turkey hauling a locked trunk, green “Mr. Croakley” rather ominously vanishes after “Mr. Quackley” passes by and a child yearns for a pet elephant. Some readers may be amused by the fitfully rhymed verses’ quirkiness, but this sampler is best considered a curiosity, for deeper collections. (Poetry. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-9646010-1-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pumpkin House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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“He called on me. / My answer’s wrong. / Caught like a squirrel / on an open lawn. / Standing alone, / twiddling my paws, / frozen in place, / working my jaws. / I’d like to bolt, / but where? / I moan. / Could anyone / be more / alone?” Poet, educator and storyteller Holbrook returns with a collection of 41 poems about school worries and classroom problems. Here readers find substitutes and pop quizzes, bullies and homework storms. Nearly half of the poems have appeared in previous collections, but here the white space around each poem is filled with poetry facts, definitions and challenges to get young poets writing. Some entries are more successful than others; a few have odd rhymes, others a jangle in the rhythm. The title, too, is quite misleading: There is only one zombie poem. However, the subjects will resonate, and the hints and tips will excite young writers whether they currently love poetry or not. Sandstrom’s serviceable pen, ink and faded watercolor spot illustrations are as hit-and-miss as the poems. This is good classroom poetry, though, if not verse for the ages. (Poetry. 9-11)



Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-820-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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Enlisting the aid of Snow, creator of the modern classic, How Dogs Really Work (1993), Perry addresses a dozen common problems, from losing a shoe to carrying multiple packages in the rain, from walking a pet giraffe to cleaning between one’s toes. Most of her solutions involve contraptions such as the “Maximumbrella,” or the “Acme Super Spider Spotter”—the exceptions being “Veggie Be Gone,” a spray that sends vegetables shooting out of the shopping cart, “Filbert’s Footsie Floss” (see above), and the energetic crew of “Stink Stoppers,” specialists in removing animal odors. “When pumas are putrid, we powder their paws, / Once eagles have eaten, we clean off their claws, / We bathe every bobcat, perfume every pen. / We wipe down each walrus again and again.” Snow renders each Rube Goldberg–esque device in loving, baroque detail, and shows it in action too, wielded by smiling, satisfied cartoon customers. After children finish chortling, they may be tempted to design their own thingamajigs in the wake of this droll debut. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-83067-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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