Wednesday, January 09, 2008

no cigar--but then, I don't smoke

I'd like to get around to actual reviews at some point, but in the meantime, here are some (not necessarily all) of the poetry books that did not make it onto the Cybil's short list, but did find a place in my heart:

Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli. Tender, heartfelt poems that narrate the story of a girl adjusting to a new life.

Hey, You!: Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes, and Other Fun Things selected by Paul B. Janeczko. A lively tribute to all kinds of animate and inanimate objects, with an excellent design. Terrific overall reading.

Tap Dancing on the Roof by Linda Sue Park. Illustrated by Istvan Banyai. An innovative book of "sijo," a form of Korean poetry I haven't seen previously explored in children's poetry. By definition, "Sijo" always has an unexpected twist, and these poems often manage to surprise. The whimsical pictures are also a plus.

Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color by Elizabeth Alexander and Marilyn Nelson. A powerful collection of sonnets that tell a true and very moving story.

Shape Me a Rhyme by Jane Yolen. Photographs by Jason Stemple. Beautiful photographs inspired clever poems about shapes in nature. The design is lovely and the choices of shapes are sometimes delightfully surprising. Although not strong on emotional range, this is a welcome concept book.

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars written and illustrated by Douglas Florian. In a batch of many poetry books with specific themes, this was one that really felt like it was about something, that each poem was telling me something new and interesting.

Dog Poems by Dave Crawley. illustrated by Tamara Petrosino. I was taken by surprise by how much I liked this book. The pictures are on the overly cute side and the poems sometimes are too, but the funny poems actually made me laugh, and laugh again on the second reading. I also appreciated the variety of poetic styles, themes and emotions, particularly the true affection for the subject that shines through.

(Thanks to "Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast" and "MotherReader" for this blog topic.)

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