JERUSALEM SKY

STARS, CROSSES, AND CRESCENTS

Thickly applied paint in vivid hues and fanciful, striking images lend an otherworldly perspective to the illustrations that accompany the poetic text that celebrates the richness of Jerusalem and its history as the holy city of some of the world’s religions. Weaving legends and stories from Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the author/illustrator hopes to bring a sense of unity to this embattled city. While it may speak more strongly to adults, the unusual paintings and the brevity and simple power of the text make this a choice for reading aloud in programs and homes that wish to emphasize religious tolerance. A line like, “Perhaps possessing Jerusalem / is like trying to own the sky” demonstrates the impossibility of the situation, but the very next page (the last) speaks of the “people from everywhere / every day gather in the city . . . and with prayers for peace and miracles, / all addressed to one God, hope lights the Jerusalem sky.” A cut above the didactic books on this topic. (bibliography for adults) (Poetry. All ages)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-385-74689-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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BRONZEVILLE BOYS AND GIRLS

Brooks’s gloriously universal celebration of African-American childhood here receives a respectful and joyous treatment from one of the pre-eminent illustrators of the same. Readers coming to “Narcissa,” “Beulah at Church” and “Marie Lucille” for the first time will discover them accompanied by Ringgold’s trademark folk-art interpretations, the expressive brown figures depicted for the most part as vignettes against bright backgrounds. They show a Bronzeville that bustles with activity, single-family homes sharing the streets with apartment buildings and the occasional vacant lot. The children run, braids and arms out straight, and contemplate in turns, their exuberance tempered by the solemnity of childhood. While it’s regrettable that occasionally the specificity of the illustration robs a verse of its universality—the “special place” referenced in “Keziah” is shown to be underneath the kitchen table, for instance—the overall ebullience of the images more than compensates. There is a drop of truth in every single playful, piercing stanza, and anything that brings these poems to a new audience is to be cheered; a lovely package indeed. (Picture book/poetry. 7+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-06-029505-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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LIZARDS, FROGS, AND POLLIWOGS

POEMS AND PAINTINGS

“It’s wise to stay clear / Of the dangerous cobra / All months of the year, / Including Octobra.” But it wouldn’t be wise to stay clear of Florian’s latest poetry collection, sixth in his successful series of witty poems and paintings about creatures of all sorts (Mammalabilia: Poems and Paintings, 2000, etc.). This volume includes 21 short poems about reptiles and amphibians, including common creatures such as the bullfrog and the box turtle and more exotic specimens such as the komodo dragon and the red-eyed tree frog. Teachers will like the way the rhyming poems integrate into elementary science lessons, imparting some basic zoological facts along with the giggles, and kids will love the poems because they’re clever and funny in a style reminiscent of Ogden Nash, full of wordplay and sly humor. Florian’s impressionistic full-page illustrations are done in watercolors on primed, brown paper bags, often offering another layer of humor, as in the orange newt reading the Newt News on the cover. A first choice for the poetry shelves in all libraries, this collection is toadally terrific. (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202591-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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