From the editor of Sounds and Silences (1970, p. 750, J-292) another absorbing collection. Although many of the poets are known, most of the poems are not on juvenile shelves — but they should be. Ronald Koertge's "Modifications" is a seemingly simple account of following the rules — to a freaky finish. Robert Hayden also depicts a strangely terrifying scene in "The Whipping" as an old woman, beating a boy, is "avenged in part for lifelong hidings/ She has had to bear." In "Horror Movies" Howard Moss suggests, "There's a little death in every body" and Ferlinghetti deals in irony: "The world is a beautiful place/ to be born into/ if you don't mind some people dying/ all the time/ or maybe only starving/ some of the time/ which isn't half so bad/ if it isn't you." Not all are so hard-minded but they do share a concern with the realities of everyday life. Marcie Hans draws a contrast between the thrust of a rocket and a seedling ("no one even clapped") and Karl Shapiro looks at the "cryptic American. . . beauty" of a manhole cover. Good anthologies of modern poetry are no longer hard to find — there's been a flock since Watermelon Pickel; this is better than most, fresh and uncompromising.

Pub Date: April 1, 1971

ISBN: 0440956390

Page Count: 165

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1971

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A festive invitation to creative liberation.


A pleasingly tactile exploration of the possibilities inherent in mistakes.

"A torn piece of paper... / is just the beginning!" Spills, folded paper, drips of paint, smudges and smears—they "all can make magic appear." An increasingly complex series of scenarios celebrates random accidents, encouraging artistic experimentation rather than discouragement. The folded-over paper can be a penguin's head; a torn piece of newsprint can turn into a smiling dog with a little application of paint; a hot-chocolate stain can become a bog for a frog. Thanks to a telescoping pop-up, a hole is filled with nearly limitless possibilities. The interactive elements work beautifully with the photo-collaged "mistakes," never overwhelming the intent with showiness. Saltzberg's trademark cartoon animals provide a sweetly childlike counterpoint to the artful scribbles and smears of gloppy paint.

A festive invitation to creative liberation. (Pop-up. 4-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5728-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.


This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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