Monday, May 15, 2006

Review: There is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me

There is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me by Alice Walker. Illustrated by Stefano Vitale. HarperCollins, 2006 (978-0-06-057080-4) $16.99

Vitale could probably make the phone book look fascinating if he illustrated it, but he was really given a treat to work with this time. Walker's imagistic poem cries out to be creatively illustrated and it blends so perfectly with pictures here, it's hard to envision them apart.

"There is a flower/At the tip/Of my nose/Smelling me" begins the poem, and the flower that curls down from the sky here does seem as fascinated by the girl it is "smelling" as she does with it. A glorious sunrise kisses her skin, "Praising me" and a pen outlines her in lovely calligraphy, "Writing me." The soft brown skin of the girl beautifully complements the pink of her dress and the brilliant colors that bloom around--and occasionally through--her. The final page, "There is a story/At the end/Of my arms/Telling me!" shows the girl's broad, smiling face covered with all colors of the rainbow; the glowing colors and simplicity of line, paired with the evocative words, make her seem an ideal representation of joyful humanity. * (3 & up)