Opening oversight aside, a thoughtful and visually arresting trove of seasonal verse.



From this well-known mother-and-daughter anthologist duo (Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies, 2009, etc.) comes another rich compendium of occasional poems loosely chronicling the months and holidays.

The 100-plus favorite poems and song lyrics expressing more or less seasonal themes are surrounded here by ravishing illustrations from Caldecott honoree Priceman (Hot Air, 2005, etc.). Visually, one couldn’t ask for more: The exuberance of color and line in these spirited gouache spreads radiates warmth, vibrancy, and fun. The sophisticated collection espouses a celebration of multicultural diversity and includes gems by the likes of Emily Dickinson, John Updike, E.B. White, Jenny Whitehead, Cole Porter and many others. Andrews and Hamilton ferret out both age-old favorites marking religious and public holidays as well as timeless works simply capturing a change of season, like Sara Teasdale’s tense “April.” The recurrent themes of cultural awareness and inclusivity especially come across in Andrews’ own poems, such as “Flags,” in which she rhetorically asks: “Why do we salute a flag, / A vibrant, colorful piece of rag? […] Why not celebrate the globe, / Become a flag, and wear a robe / Of purest crimson? Convey to the world / We are all flags—and fly unfurled.” Given this celebration of inclusion, it’s a pity that the frontispiece, an abridged version of Longfellow’s “The Day Is Done,” concludes with a simile that, sadly, draws on 19th-century stereotypes of Arabs.

Opening oversight aside, a thoughtful and visually arresting trove of seasonal verse. (Poetry. 6 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-04051-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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An edge-of-your-seat read.


A girl’s birthdays mark parallel tragedies for her broken family unit.

Last year’s celebration at a restaurant ended in an unexplained public shooting, and Nora’s mother died. She and her father are still wrestling with their trauma, Nora with a confirmed diagnosis of PTSD. For this year’s outing, Nora and her father head into the deserts of the Southwest on a rock-climbing expedition. They descend into a 40-foot deep slot canyon, then hike along inside until a flash flood barrels through the canyon, washing away all their supplies…and Nora’s father. She’s left to survive this symbolic and living nightmare on her own. Thankfully, she can make continuous use of her parents’ thorough training in desert knowledge. Brief sections of prose bracket the meat of the story, which is in verse, a choice highly effective in setting tone and emotional resonance for the heightened situation. Bowling’s poems run a gamut of forms, transforming the literal shape of the text just as the canyon walls surrounding Nora shape her trek. The voice of Nora’s therapist breaks through occasionally, providing a counterpoint perspective. Nora is White while two characters seen in memories have brown skin. The narrative also names local Native peoples. Elements of the survival story and psychological thriller combine with strong symbolism to weave a winding, focused, stunning narrative ultimately about the search for healing.

An edge-of-your-seat read. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49469-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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Compassionate optimism for a boy who can’t control the chaos around him.


What can a good kid do when his big brother starts being a problem?

Twelve-year-old Trace Reynolds, who is White and Puerto Rican, wants to get noticed for the right reasons: good grades, Little League, pulling weeds for Mr. Cobb next door. Seventeen-year-old Will used to be the best brother, but now he’s so angry. He’s played football since he was a little kid and has been tackled plenty; when he gets horrifically hurt in a JV game, it’s just one too many head injuries. It’s been a year and a half since Will’s traumatic brain injury, and he’s got a hair-trigger temper. He has chronic headaches, depression, and muscle spasms that prevent him from smiling. Trace knows it’s rotten for Will, but still, why did his awesome brother have to give up all his cool friends? Now he argues with their dad, hangs out with losers—and steals Trace’s stuff. At least Trace has a friend in Catalina Sánchez, the new girl on Little League. Her dad’s a retired major leaguer, and she has sibling problems too. Observations from Trace frame Cat as praiseworthy by virtue of her not being like the other girls, a mindset that conveys misogynistic overtones. The fears of stable, straight-arrow athlete Trace are clarified in lovely sparks of concrete poetry among Hopkins’ free verse, as he learns to tell adults when he sees his beloved brother acting dangerously.

Compassionate optimism for a boy who can’t control the chaos around him. (author's note) (Verse novel. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-10864-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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