COME TO MY PARTY

AND OTHER SHAPE POEMS

Text and pictures blend seamlessly in this outstanding offering—no mean feat, as Roemer’s rhymes are all shaped to evoke seasonal sights: the V’s of nestlings’ open beaks and skeins of migrating geese, the fall of raindrops, the twist of a garden hose, the paths of “Dancing Leaves” in autumn. Read aloud, the verses irresistibly invite audience participation—“I take my little rake and my hoe, hoe, hoe; / And break up clods of dirt in each row, row, row”—but lend themselves to silent appreciation too, as color changes, type sizes, and artful placement work together to make them easily legible, even to less-practiced readers. Takahashi folds the shaped lines into her simple, richly hued outdoor scenes with seeming effortlessness, letting words not only rest within the compositions, but become elements of them, as Christmas tree branches, menorah candles, an owl’s crest, dandelion fluff. She also adds visual surprises and stories of her own, from a child’s face that dramatically transforms into a snowman’s across the gutter to a teeter-tottering mother and daughter with different skin tones. A strong debut for Roemer and Takahashi’s most inventive work yet. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8050-6620-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2004

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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HONEY, I LOVE

Iffy art cramps this 25th-anniversary reissue of the joyful title poem from Greenfield’s first collection (1978), illustrated by the Dillons. As timeless as ever, the poem celebrates everything a child loves, from kissing Mama’s warm, soft arm to listening to a cousin from the South, “ ’cause every word he says / just kind of slides out of his mouth.” “I love a lot of things / a whole lot of things,” the narrator concludes, “And honey, / I love ME, too.” The African-American child in the pictures sports an updated hairstyle and a big, infectious grin—but even younger viewers will notice that the spray of cool water that supposedly “stings my stomach” isn’t aimed there, and that a comforter on the child’s bed changes patterns between pages. More problematic, though, is a dropped doll that suddenly acquires a horrified expression that makes it look disturbingly like a live baby, and the cutesy winged fairy that hovers over the sleeping child in the final scene. The poem deserves better. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009123-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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