MONSTER SOUP

AND OTHER SPOOKY POEMS

The genesis of this captivating book was unusual: the compiler (who is also an illustrators' agent), responding to Rogers's fascination with monsters (`` `They' kept popping up in her sketches; and we would talk about `them' as though they already existed and were only in need of a place to be''), chose these 16 poems not only for their appeal but also to summon Rogers's particular vision. The result has a great deal of variety and a special charm, nicely summed up in a poem by de Regniers—``Scare me easy/Scare me slow/Scare me gentle/Don't let go/my hand.'' Though there are plenty of ghoulies, ghosties, and witches here, there's nothing wicked or gruesome; an ingenuous humor is at work, and recognition that these superficially ugly creatures (like Max's Wild Things) represent a part of ourselves that's not too bad. Whether it's Sawyer's picnicking bugs capsized by a ``giant'' toddler or Lee's ``Thunder'' made by a giant's children slamming doors, Bennett's power-shovel dinosaur or Prelutsky's armored ankylosaurus, Ciardi's Halloween creatures or cummings's ``Hist Whist,'' imagination is the key. Mellow, witty, and delightfully inventive, Rogers's illustrations are her best yet. A year-round winner. (Poetry/Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-590-45208-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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