THE BLOCK

In a work published in conjunction with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the words and images of two Harlem Renaissance artists combine in a jazzy portrait of life on a Harlem block. The juxtaposition of poems—dating from the 1920s through the 1950s- -with portions of ``The Block''—a collage Bearden created in 1971- -give both works new spark; in fact, the two seem made for each other. The poems act as small spyglasses, enhancing details of the larger collage or giving new meaning to the visual image; Hughes (The Book of Rhythms, p. 1111, etc.) narrates events—a funeral, a love song, a lonely man's lament—that comprise the larger saga of the neighborhood. Cropped closeups of portions of Bearden's art individualize characters, drawing the eyes of young readers in. An introduction by Bill Cosby emphasizes the importance of neighborhood blocks as reflected in each artist's work. Though biographical pieces in the book acknowledge Hughes's acquaintance with Bearden in the 1930s, little is said of their influence on each other. Like Ntozake Shange's i live in music (1994, not reviewed), a continuous poem, illustrated by many of Bearden's works, this also shows readers how poetry and collage are not only related, but probably siblings. (Picture book/poetry. 4+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-670-86501-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1995

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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TO MARKET, TO MARKET

A marketing trip from Miranda (Glad Monster, Sad Monster, p. 1309) that jiggity jigs off in time-honored nursery-rhyme fashion, but almost immediately derails into well-charted chaos. The foodstuffs—the fat pig, the red hen, the plump goose, the pea pods, peppers, garlic, and spice—are wholly reasonable in light of the author's mention of shopping at traditional Spanish mercados, which stock live animals and vegetables. Stevens transfers the action to a standard American supermarket and a standard American kitchen, bringing hilarity to scenes that combine acrylics, oil pastels, and colored pencil with photo and fabric collage elements. The result is increasing frazzlement for the shopper, an older woman wearing spectacles, hat, and purple pumps (one of which is consumed by her groceries). It's back to market one last time for ingredients for the hot vegetable soup she prepares for the whole bunch. True, her kitchen's trashed and she probably won't find a welcome mat at her supermarket hereafter, but all's well that ends well—at least while the soup's on. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-200035-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

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