A charming ode for beginning young bards.

A POEM IS A FIREFLY

A poem defined in poetry.

A group of woodland creatures crowds around a book asking a question that many wonder: “What’s a poem?” One rabbit’s answer, that “a poem can be anything,” doesn’t add much clarity. A bewildered bear asks, “What? / What can a poem be?” Each animal offers possibilities. Wise owl believes that “a poem is a whisper. / Whooooooo.” But a playful wolf thinks the opposite: “A poem is a shout. / Hoooowllllllll.” A prickly hedgehog explains (as it performs a swan dive that ends with it curled into a ball), “A poem is a thought … / … turned inside out.” The smooth sway of each animal’s answer lets readers begin to feel what poetry is. The musical language dips and crescendos. A tiny spider offers, “A poem is a spiderweb / spun with words of wonder… / … like woven lace held in place / by whispers made of thunder.” With backgrounds rendered in a palette dominated by greens and yellows of the daytime, then modulating to the deep blues of the forest night, Hyde’s stylized, stuffed-toy–like depictions of the animals add whimsy to their deep thoughts. Poetry is not easily defined, but it echoes long after it’s been read: “Follow it and trust your way / with mind and heart as one. / And when the journey’s over, / you’ll find you’ve just begun.”

A charming ode for beginning young bards. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6108-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 30

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

more