TOUCH THE POEM

There is poetry in the art and in the juxtaposition of art and text, as well as in the words themselves in this second ingenious poetry collection by Adoff and Desimini (Love Letters, 1997, etc.). The pleasures of touch are expressed on every page, from the handprint on the title page to the baby's footprint accompanying the colophon. A poem about the feel of a peach is reminiscent of Eve Merriam's classic "How to Eat a Poem" in its celebration of the poetry of the senses. From "The Palm / Of My Left Hand" rubbing "Along The Hair / Behind My Ear" with its photo of a young girl, her palm on her cheek and her fingers tangled in her hair, to footprints in the mud, the feel of "Daddy's / Stubble / Cheek," a baby's toes, and a bathtub full of bubbles, words and images enhance each other's impact. Desimini's mixed-media collages of photographs, paintings, paper, and computer graphics are full of surprises, sometimes appearing sideways, sometimes looking first like one thing (a sandy beach) and then like something else (there are lips in the sand!). The interplay of words and images expresses the playfulness and multiplicity of poetry itself, creating a rich effect that will draw readers back again and again. (Picture book/poetry. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-590-47970-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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There’s always tomorrow.

TOMORROW IS WAITING

A lyrical message of perseverance and optimism.

The text uses direct address, which the title- and final-page illustrations suggest comes from an adult voice, to offer inspiration and encouragement. The opening spreads reads, “Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. / Each kiss good night is a wish for tomorrow,” as the accompanying art depicts a child with black hair and light skin asleep in a bed that’s fantastically situated in a stylized landscape of buildings, overpasses, and roadways. The effect is dreamlike, in contrast with the next illustration, of a child of color walking through a field and blowing dandelion fluff at sunrise. Until the last spread, each child depicted in a range of settings is solitary. Some visual metaphors falter in terms of credibility, as in the case of a white-appearing child using a wheelchair in an Antarctic ice cave strewn with obstacles, as the text reads “you’ll explore the world, only feeling lost in your imagination.” Others are oblique in attempted connections between text and art. How does a picture of a pale-skinned, black-haired child on a bridge in the rain evoke “first moments that will dance with you”? But the image of a child with pink skin and brown hair scaling a wall as text reads “there will be injustice that will challenge you, and it will surprise you how brave you can be” is clearer.

There’s always tomorrow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99437-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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