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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Adults who grew up with Uncle Shelby will find themselves wiping their eyes by the time they get to the end of this...

EVERY THING ON IT

A second posthumous collection from the archives of the multitalented Silverstein is definitely a cause for celebration.

“Although I cannot see your face / As you flip these poems awhile, / Somewhere from some far-off place / I hear you laughing—and I smile.” This and 129 other poems chosen by Silverstein’s family see light here for the first time. Those vexed by the relentless spoonerisms of 2005’s Runny Babbit will delight that these buried gems are different each to each. There are tales of garlic breath and child-eating plants (and child-eating land sharks and a horse that’s pretty hungry). There are admonitions never to eat a snake (whole) or look up the chimney for Santa. The poems vary in length as much as in subject matter, running from a line or two to several pages. Silverstein’s inspired word play and impish sense of humor are in abundant evidence. His signature line drawings accompany many of the poems and complete the jokes of some. If there are one or two that feel a bit flat, the hijinks or silly grossness of the next poem more than make up for them. “When I am gone what will you do? / Who will write and draw for you? / Someone smarter—someone new? / Someone better—maybe YOU!”

Adults who grew up with Uncle Shelby will find themselves wiping their eyes by the time they get to the end of this collection; children new to the master will find themselves hooked. (Poetry. All ages)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-199816-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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