A gentle, comforting ticket to beddy-bye—and good dreams.

NIGHT WISHES

Thirteen poets contribute to a collection that buoys sleepy readers into dreamland.

Hopkins organizes the thematic anthology of 14 short poems (Rebecca Kai Dotlich contributes two), each told from the perspective of something in a child’s room. Accompanying double-page spreads expand each poem. The illustrations start with imaginative scenes starring a child of color and gently shift back to reality as day breaks and the child wakes up. The first two poems, “Bed” and “Pillow,” urge action, with phrases like “Climb in, child. / Climb in” and “Eyes closed, set sail!” Next “Blanket” wraps the child in love as they drift off. “Cat” and “Dog” each elicit a sense of wonder as the titular animals pose curious questions. Remaining poems such as “Rocking Horse” and “Stars” convey the push (“Hurry up, sun! / Hurry up, dawn!”) and pull (“No need to hurry— / we listen all night”) of the wait until morning. “Bed Again,” the final poem, encourages the child to “Step out and into day. / Get dressed, be on your way.” The consistent tone combining first-person narration with direct address unifies the disparate voices. Though each poem’s subject and title connect to something specific, Corace’s stylized illustrations include recurring characters and other thoughtful details for readers to discover. The jewel tones offer a soothing, subdued nighttime backdrop, as does the flat perspective. Diamond-patterned endpapers repeat the cover’s visual motif of dandelion seeds turned to stars.

A gentle, comforting ticket to beddy-bye—and good dreams. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5496-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Both playful and enlightening, period.

A BUNCH OF PUNCTUATION

A collection of peppy poems and clever pictures explains different forms of punctuation.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s “A Punctuation Tale” kicks off the proceedings with a punny description of a day full of punctuation; goodnight is “cuddled / in quotation marks.” Ensuing poems discuss the comma, the apostrophe, the dash (“A subdued dude / in tweet and text / he signals what / is coming next”), the colon, the exclamation point, and ellipses. Allan Wolf’s poem about this last is called “…” and begins, “The silent ellipsis… / replaces…words missed.” Prince Redcloud’s “Question Marks” is particularly delightful, with the question “Why?” dancing diagonally down in stair steps. The emphatic answer is a repeated “Because!” Other poems pay tribute to quotation marks, the hyphen, and the period. Michele Kruger explains “The Purpose of Parentheses”: “inside a pair / ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) / of slender curves / we’ll hold your few / inserted words.” The final poem is editor Hopkins’ own, “Lines Written for You to Think About” (inspired by Carl Sandburg), urging young readers to write their own verses employing (what else?) punctuation. The 12 poets included work with a variety of devices and styles for an always-fresh feel. Bloch’s illustrations are delightfully surprising, both illustrating each poem’s key points and playfully riffing on the punctuation itself.

Both playful and enlightening, period. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59078-994-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A lovely foundation for forays into poetry and for building a love of buildings.

CONSTRUCTION PEOPLE

Fourteen poems capture a skyscraper’s construction, from beginning to completion, in vivid detail.

In the first verse, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, the nascent high-rise, narrating from an empty lot, excitedly contemplates its future: the workers and materials its construction will entail and how it will eventually ascend to lofty heights; in the last, also by Dotlich, the finished structure proudly announces its presence on the “spectacular skyline.” The remaining robust poems, each by a different contributor and presented on double-page spreads, describe the various skilled jobs and professionals involved in a skyscraper’s planning and building and also—take note, vehicle mavens—the trucks required at a construction site. Apart from enjoying jaunty rhymes that scan well and include numerous delightful turns of phrase, readers gain insight into the many workers who collaborate on a new building’s successful, safe skyward climb. Additionally, children will build their vocabularies with nifty words like “glaziers” and “welders.” Onomatopoeia is used to good, dramatic effect where applicable. Lively, appealing artwork grounds this collection: Many of its action-filled illustrations also highlight verticals and horizontals. Women are well represented throughout as skilled, busy professionals in various nonstereotypical or supervisory positions. Workers are depicted with varied skin tones, hairstyles, and racial presentations, including the female Asian architect and her daughter, recurring characters. Endpapers are rich ocher, the color of soil.

A lovely foundation for forays into poetry and for building a love of buildings. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-361-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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