SWING AROUND THE SUN

This collection of seasonal poetry by the late Esbensen (The Night Rainbow, not reviewed, etc.) was previously published in the ’60s in a slightly longer length with black and white illustrations. This new edition of 20 poems uses a different artist to illustrate the poems for each of the four seasons, requiring the necessary visual adjustment to shifting artistic styles inherent in this format. In the first section, Cheng-Khee Chee chose mossy greens and grays for his springtime watercolor illustrations, with the impressionistic, misty overtones of a wet, early spring. For the summer selections, Janice Lee Porter’s acrylic paintings incorporate lush tones and curving lines to illustrate the fullness of the season in poems about a vacant lot, ripe pears, and a sudden storm. Mary GrandPré, illustrator of the American edition of the Harry Potter stories, illustrated the autumn poems in fall hues on deep-toned backgrounds that convey the spooky side of the season, concluding with a transitional poem that predicts the changes inherent in winter. Caldecott Medalist Stephen Gammell effectively captures the mood of northern winters in his bright white and deep blue paintings, with splashes of flying snowflakes. Some of the volume’s best poems celebrate the serious winters of Esbensen’s home state of Minnesota, with an eerie ode called “The Wind Woman” and a memorable final poem about a little girl walking through deep snow at night. Almost all of the short poems rhyme, but the varied and sophisticated rhyme schemes show the range of the poet’s extraordinary talent. (biographical notes, publisher note) (Poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-87614-143-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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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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