POETREES

Trees receive a witty and informative rhyming appreciation. Starting with a concrete poem about “The Seed” (which brilliantly snakes its way into the shape of the infinity sign) and moving into species both familiar—“Oak,” “Giant Sequoias”—and less well known—“Scribbly Gum,” “Bristlecone Pine”—Florian also introduces readers to such individual elements as “Roots” and “Bark.” The author renders his illustrations on crinkly, brown paper bags in a diverse assortment of media—gouache watercolors, colored paints, rubber stamps, oil pastels and collage—and incorporates images of humans (hands, faces, whole bodies) into many of them. Equally effective is the large double-page layout of the book, which opens top to bottom rather than left to right, giving each tree room to grow. His style is looser than in previous books, in keeping with the organic, natural theme. Although some of his wordplay falls flat (sequoias are “Ancient seers / Of three thousand years”), by and large the poems live up to his usual high standard. The author is careful to include a “Glossatree,” an author’s note and a bibliography. Readers and listeners will learn and laugh. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-8672-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: BBC Books/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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