Children of all ages will be charmed by this collection that demonstrates that poet-translators often make the best...

A LITTLE BITTY MAN

AND OTHER POEMS FOR THE VERY YOUNG

A charming collection of poems finds an American audience in a splendid translation.

Though unknown to the vast majority of American readers, Rasmussen (1915-2002) was a beloved Danish poet, known both for his human-rights writings as well as nonsense verse for children. A sweet compendium of the latter is translated here by the award-winning Nelson and Espeland and animated by Hawkes’ dynamic, colorful acrylic-and-pencil renderings, effectively capturing the playfulness of Rasmussen’s verse in both sound and image. As he explores life’s many processes, activities and imagined situations, Rasmussen’s delightfully warped sense of humor is in full view. It ranges from potty humor—“Feet are to jump on, / drums are to thump on. / Tiptoes to snoop on, / and potties to poop on!”—to outright silliness—“The elf puts on his winter coat […] and then, before he goes, / puts on an empty ice-cream cone / to insulate his nose.” But the poet also does not shy away from more serious subjects, such as the cultivation of friendships, using a light touch to convey his pacifist message: “Those fierce grown-up soldiers / who shoot guns and fight / should learn from us children / to fight a war right. / First, fight with toy guns. / Then, if your war won’t end, / you tickle your enemy / into a friend!”

Children of all ages will be charmed by this collection that demonstrates that poet-translators often make the best ambassadors. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2379-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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Hard-to-find numbers make this counting book one to skip.

NUMBERS EVERYWHERE

Four-line poems introduce the numbers zero to nine opposite stylized, colorful mixed-media illustrations that incorporate them.

The relevant numeral is printed clearly over each poem and worked into the pictures, with dotted blue lines to help readers find them. This device sometimes works against itself. For example, the poem headed “3” reads: “Curve out and back in— / Do it once, then repeat: / A three is red pepper / On pizza. Let’s eat!” The poem is inviting, but the red pepper 3’s on the pizza slices opposite are obscured by the dotted blue lines superimposed on them. There are also three people to count and three tuning pegs on the banjo one kid plays. Those elements of the illustration are clear enough, but locating the numeral can be hard. Most pictures share this difficulty, although some, like the two balls of the snowman representing 8, are easier to spot. (Eight children play around the snowman, and there are eight pieces of coal marking its features.) The pictures include people with varying skin tones. In acknowledgment of the difficulty of the concept, a concluding double-page spread with number shapes incorporated into the composition is followed by an identical spread with the number shapes circled for readers to confirm their guesses. The rear endpapers offer each numeral with a corresponding number of thumbnails from the appropriate earlier spread for extra practice.

Hard-to-find numbers make this counting book one to skip. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4321-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Books about the seasons abound. This one’s mentions of specific holidays may limit its audience.

FOUR SEASONS OF FUN

EGG HUNTS! FIREWORKS! PUMPKINS! REINDEER!

A rhyming look at all the fun to be had during a year of seasonal changes.

An apple tree anchors the book, its branches visually portraying each of the seasons: “Glittering sunbeams make a golden crown / for a tree that is wearing a blossom gown.” Daigneault’s illustration here shows the tree heavily laden with pinkish blossoms, the top of the tree tinged yellow from the rays of the sun. Opposite the tree, a groundhog emerges. This sets up a pattern, as Edwards introduces an animal and how it experiences the season (in summer, birds feed their chicks in the nest, for example) before two double-page spreads show how children enjoy it. In autumn: “Racing the field, taking aim, / Helping your team to win the game.” A Hallmark holiday is included in each season: Easter (hunting eggs and bunny treats), the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Christmas (leaving out cookies for Santa). This book is best shared with an adult, as text on the introductory spreads is in cursive, and children may need help with some of the heightened language and imagery on these pages, gorgeous though they are. The illustrations are realistic and portray both beautiful nature scenes and children enjoying the suburban outdoors (only three activities take place indoors). The kids have varied skin tones and hair textures, though they do not appear to be economically diverse.

Books about the seasons abound. This one’s mentions of specific holidays may limit its audience. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-403-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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