Smith has gathered often humorous, always amorous poems from the traditional to the new, from contributors with household names to the poetically omnipresent Anonymous. Among the stellar items are selections by Langston Hughes (“I could take the Harlem night/and wrap around you,/Take the neon lights and make a crown”), Kenneth Koch (“One day the Nouns were clustered in the streets./An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty”), Donald Hall (“Chipmunks jump, and/Greensnakes slither./Rather burst than/Not be with her”), and Robert Frost (“The rose is a rose,/And was always a rose,/But the theory now goes/That the apple’s a rose,/And the pear is, and so’s/The plum, I suppose”—playing on the old rhyme “If Apples Were Pears,” which is also included). Cock Robin is here, as are such characters as the Old Woman and the Marmalade Man; Jack Prelutsky and William Shakespeare also make appearances, and so does the former poet laureate himself: “Now touch the air softly,/Swing gently the broom./I’ll love you till windows/Are all of a room.” Dyer contributes delicate, colored pencil drawings to the book, which is about the same size as a valentine. (index) (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-19765-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998


The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001


A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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