In “monstrous” revisions of some traditional Mother Goose rhymes, Sierra plays to an audience of modern youngsters who adore ghouls and gore. Most of the poems follow the general rhyming patterns and meters of the originals. But the images are all Sierra’s. Little Miss Mummy keeps her guts in a jar and a spider inside her. There are three piranhas waiting to pounce in “Rub-a-Dub-Dub.” The zombie who lives in a shoe has maggots. Cannibal Horner eats people potpie. Davis’s acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations are appropriately amusing and disgusting. The layout is imaginative and visually exciting. Each poem, with one exception, covers one-fourth of a two-page spread, while the illustration covers the remaining three-quarters and seems to spill over onto the text. The layout poses a problem in a few instances, when key elements of the illustration disappear in the fold and spoil the continuity. In addition, there is one poem in which the text is presented in scattered ribbons across both pages, so the eye does not scan the lines in correct order. But the poems and illustrations are great fun and should achieve a delighted reaction of “E-e-e-w Gross.” Images of a killer tomato, vampire sheep, and those lurking piranhas in the bathtub might be just a bit nightmarish for really young readers. But it’s a fiendishly good time for everyone else. (Poetry. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202034-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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A poor performance, “[s]ans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” (introduction, indexes) (Poetry. 8-11, adult)


Like the old man’s hose, Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man” speech is “a world too wide” to be well-served by this paltry selection of 21 poems, three per “age.”

Hopkins tries to inject some color into the mix with Walt Whitman’s “When I heard the learn’d astronomer,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee?” and Lewis Carroll’s “You are old, father William.” Unfortunately, these, combined with passages from the speech itself, only make his other choices look anemic. To the “infant, / Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms,” for instance, Rebecca Kai Dotlich offers a bland “Amazing, your face. / Amazing”; on the facing page, a “traditional Nigerian lullaby” is stripped of music: “Sleep my baby near to me. / Lu lu lu lu lu lu.” Along with Joan Bransfield Graham’s “A Soldier’s Letter to a Newborn Daughter,” which ends with a condescending “I’m coming home / to my girls… / With All My Love, / DAD,” most of the rest are cast in prosaic free verse. Hopkins’ “Curtain,” probably written for this collection, closes the set with theatrical imagery. Billout supplies pale, distant views of small figures and some surreal elements in largely empty settings—appropriate, considering the poetry, but they lack either appeal for young audiences or any evocation of the Shakespearean lines’ vigorous language and snarky tone.

A poor performance, “[s]ans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” (introduction, indexes) (Poetry. 8-11, adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56846-218-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Poetry and short informative paragraphs combine to celebrate both the elegance and the natural history of the American egret. Haiku, free verse, rhyming couplets and even a limerick are just some of the forms Yolen masterfully uses to engage readers on both aesthetic and scientific levels. Gorgeous photography completes this carefully designed literary science piece with scenes of the egret’s daily life. Stemple captures the egret’s movements as the light of each part of the day, from the yellow-orange glow of sunrise to midday pink to late afternoon sunset blue to evening purple, is reflected on its snow-white feathers. Both the poetry and the brief fact-filled vignettes explain how egrets walk, eat, fly and preen and how their plumes, so lace-like, were once coveted for decorating clothes and hats. A final poem muses on the future of this great wading bird in a country filled with polluted wetlands. A stunning combination of scientific and ecological knowledge offered through a graceful fusion of lyrical and visual media. (Informational picture book/poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-650-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2009

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