A vibrant collection that introduces an Eastern European master to the West.

FAREWELL AND A HANDKERCHIEF

POEMS FROM THE ROAD

A volume offers poems by one of Czechoslovakia's literary treasures.

In this new translation of a Czech classic, English speakers get a taste of one of Europe’s most underappreciated verse writers. Nezval was born in Moravia in 1900 and matriculated as a philosophy student, but his early experience with the Prague literary scene converted him to poetry and launched a remarkably prolific career. As Karen von Kunes writes in the foreword, one of the central hopes of Nezval’s school was the creation of a new “art of everyday life” that was “accessible” to the “simple man.” Kostovski’s translation preserves the clarity and simplicity of Nezval’s verse. The poet’s brief “Place du Tertre” is a good example: “My love, perhaps we both shall meet / When finally the world succeeds / To sit together chair to chair / On that one Parisian square.” Yet this seemingly straightforward quatrain yields more nuance the longer readers look. Best of all is the gnomic second line, which could logically attach either to the first—in which case the lovers will meet when the world “succeeds”—or the third, whereby the world prevails in sitting “together chair to chair.” That the meaning of this second rendering is mysterious is in keeping with another of Nezval’s influences: French surrealism. The poet knew luminaries like Breton and Eluard, and some of their enigmatic qualities seep into Nezval’s verse. Breton and Eluard, of course, are both from France, another of their Czech contemporary’s loves. Though this collection ostensibly describes a trip across Europe, the lion’s share is given to Paris. Nezval writes of his arrival there: “You were Medusa when I dreamed about you / Now here I stand, a vagrant in prime / And the smallest bit that you’re able to give / Lulls me to sleep like a drinking man’s wine.” Yet if the City of Light is this intoxicating, so is Nezval’s verse, and readers will hope to get more in English soon. It’s a shame he’s been hidden for so long.

A vibrant collection that introduces an Eastern European master to the West.

Pub Date: May 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9960722-5-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Plamen Press

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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When anyone attempts to enhance and reformat a book that’s already sold more than five million copies, there’s some risk...

MOO, BAA, LA LA LA!

From the Boynton Moo Media series

The iPad adaption of Boynton’s bestselling board book surveys animals and the sounds they make.

When anyone attempts to enhance and reformat a book that’s already sold more than five million copies, there’s some risk involved. What if it doesn’t translate well? Worse yet, what if it flops? Fortunately, Loud Crow Interactive and Boynton don’t have to worry about that. There’s no hint of a sophomore slump in this second installment of the Boynton Moo Media series. Much like its predecessor, The Going to Bed Book (2011), this app adapts the illustrator’s trademark creatures for iPad in a way few other developers can. The animals are fluid and pliable, which is no small feat given that they’re on a flat display. Readers can jiggle them, hurl them off screen, elicit animal sounds and in some cases make them sing (in a perfect inverted triad!). Melodic violin music accompanies the entire story, which is deftly narrated by Boynton’s son, Keith. In addition to the author’s simple yet charming prose there are little surprises sprinkled throughout that extend the wit that’s won countless babies and parents over in paper form.

Pub Date: April 19, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Loud Crow Interactive

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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I LOVE YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH

Based on the 2005 board book, this Scholastic "Touch and Tilt" app retains the print version's sweetness and soothing tone. Told in simple, declarative rhymes ("I love your fingers / and toes / your ears / and nose"), the story is illustrated by images of a young boy and his adored teddy bear in various situations and emotional states. Adding to the mix, the iPad version features brief animations and sound on each page—one for the boy and one for the teddy bear when each are tapped. There are also animations activated by tilting the iPad clockwise and counter-clockwise, typically making the duo sway to and fro. The tilting animations sometimes get in the way of the touch animations, creating a delayed-reaction effect that may cause some frustration for its target toddler audience. Not every animated illustration works, stylistically; it's doubtful any fans of the book were clamoring to see the gentle bear do a headspin, for instance. But the app features calm narration, tinkling background music and illustrations so soft and fluffy they could be confused for high-thread-count bedding. Even the two-touch/two-tilt animations per page are reassuringly consistent. It's practically a sleeping aid in story app form. That's no knock; it's just fine for parents of restless readers at bedtime. (iPad storybook app. 18 mo.-5)

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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