SWITCHING ON THE MOON

A VERY FIRST BOOK OF BEDTIME POEMS

From the traditional “Man in the Moon” and Vachel Lindsay’s “The Moon’s the North Wind’s Cooky (What the Little Girl Said)” to Roger McGough’s “First Rub of Dawn,” this properly soporific companion to Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry (2007, illustrated by Polly Dunbar) pairs 60 short, murmurous, night-themed poems or extracted verses to full-bleed, usually full-spread paintings awash in soft moonlight and gentle, dreamlike images. Printed in generously spaced lines of good-sized type well suited to reading in low light, the selections are artfully arranged in a thematic progression that moves from moonrise to bedtime rituals (“My name is Captain Soapsuds— / A mighty ship I sail….”), on to a set of lullabies and then through the wee hours to dawn. There is a lullaby with a Caribbean inflection (“Rack-a-bye, Baby”) and one from the Iroquois, and a Scottish quatrain appears against Langston Hughes’s “The Dream Keeper.” To suit these and others, Karas provides a gently multicultural cast of characters. Best of all, the poetry’s mild, steady rhythms will close little eyelids anywhere. (Poetry collection. Birth-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4249-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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FALLING UP

Well, finally. In this long-overdue follow-up to A Light In The Attic (1981), Silverstein once again displays the talent for wordplay and idea-play that keeps his poetry evergreen. In bumptious verse that seldom runs more than three or four stanzas, he introduces a gallery of daffy characters, including the Terrible Toy-Eating Tookle, a hamburger named James, blissfully oblivious Headphone Harold, and the so-attractive folk attending the "Rotten Convention''—"Mr. Mud and the Creepin' Crud / And the Drooler and Belchin' Bob,'' to name but a few. The humor has become more alimentary with the years, but the lively, deceptively simple art hasn't changed a bit. Its puzzled-looking young people (with an occasional monster or grimacing grown-up thrown in) provide visual punchlines and make silly situations explicit; a short ten-year-old "grows another foot''—from the top of his head—and a worried child is assured that there's no mouse in her hair (it's an elephant). Readers chortling their way through this inspired assemblage of cautionary tales, verbal hijinks, and thoughtful observations, deftly inserted, will find the temptation to read parts of it aloud irresistible. (index) (Poetry. 7+)

Pub Date: May 31, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-024802-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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An incredible connector text for young readers eager to graduate to weighty conversations about our yesterday, our now, and...

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THE UNDEFEATED

Past and present are quilted together in this innovative overview of black Americans’ triumphs and challenges in the United States.

Alexander’s poetry possesses a straightforward, sophisticated, steady rhythm that, paired with Nelson’s detail-oriented oil paintings, carries readers through generations chronicling “the unforgettable,” “the undeniable,” “the unflappable,” and “the righteous marching ones,” alongside “the unspeakable” events that shape the history of black Americans. The illustrator layers images of black creators, martyrs, athletes, and neighbors onto blank white pages, patterns pages with the bodies of slaves stolen and traded, and extends a memorial to victims of police brutality like Sandra Bland and Michael Brown past the very edges of a double-page spread. Each movement of Alexander’s poem is a tribute to the ingenuity and resilience of black people in the U.S., with textual references to the writings of Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, and Malcolm X dotting stanzas in explicit recognition and grateful admiration. The book ends with a glossary of the figures acknowledged in the book and an afterword by the author that imprints the refrain “Black. Lives. Matter” into the collective soul of readers, encouraging them, like the cranes present throughout the book, to “keep rising.”

An incredible connector text for young readers eager to graduate to weighty conversations about our yesterday, our now, and our tomorrow. (Picture book/poetry. 6-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-78096-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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