A mixed bag thematically but a delicious collection nevertheless. (Picture book/poetry. 6-11)



An eclectic collection of recipes—not for cooking but for life.

Employing myriad forms—from traditional sonnets to syncopated free verse—Singer hopscotches from themes revealing commonalities among food, recipes, and poetry to broader, kid-friendly treatments of nature, reading, and social studies. The collection starts with a definition: “What’s in a good recipe? / Something right for me and you / Steps to follow, A to Z.” Another poem draws parallels between writing and cooking: “Sometimes you must follow things strictly word for word. / Sometimes it’s more lively if you improvise.” A cluster of haiku becomes a guide to enjoying the seasons: “Pomegranate seeds: / In fall, I am rich enough / to dine on rubies.” Another poem muses on memories: “Sometimes it’s just a sharp whiff of mustard, / and you recall being at the ballpark.” Toward the end of the book, poems grow increasingly sophisticated, offering recipes for courage and understanding. Priceman’s playful combination of collage, printmaking, and energetic brush strokes evokes the offbeat nostalgia of a grandma’s recipe box. Her inclusion of a multiracial cast is commendable. While most of the poems tickle the imagination and roll smoothly off the tongue, a few fall flat, such as this that ends, “Although sometimes, / you’re bound to fail, / keep measuring—and use a scale.”

A mixed bag thematically but a delicious collection nevertheless. (Picture book/poetry. 6-11)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2790-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.


Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Timely and stirring.



A shoutout to heroes of nonviolent protest, from Sam Adams to the Parkland students.

Kicking off a proud tradition, “Samuel threw a tea party.” In the same vein, “Harriet led the way,” “Susan cast her vote,” “Rosa kept her seat,” “Ruby went to school,” and “Martin had a dream.” But Easton adds both newer and less-prominent names to the familiar roster: “Tommie and John raised their fists” (at the 1968 Summer Olympics, also depicted on the cover), for instance; “John and Yoko stayed in bed”; “Gilbert sewed a rainbow” (for San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day parade in 1978); “Jazz wore a dress”; and “America [Ferrera] said, ‘Time’s up.’ ” Viewed from low or elevated angles that give them a monumental look, the grave, determined faces of the chosen subjects shine with lapidary dignity in Chen’s painted, close-up portraits. Variations in features and skin tone are rather subtle, but in general both the main lineup and groups of onlookers are visibly diverse. The closing notes are particularly valuable—not only filling in the context and circumstances of each act of protest (and the full names of the protesters), but laying out its personal consequences: Rosa Parks and her husband lost their jobs, as did Ruby Bridges’ first-grade teacher, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos were banned for life from Olympic competition. Pull quotes in both the art and the endnotes add further insight and inspiration.

Timely and stirring. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984831-97-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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