STARRED REVIEW
April 05, 2018

Pointing out the everyday possibilities for poetry

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Four terrific new collections of verse will show beginning readers that the possibilities for poetry are everywhere—in the backyard, on city streets and even (surprise!) in the classroom. Here’s to the poets of tomorrow!

STARRED REVIEW
April 05, 2018

Pointing out the everyday possibilities for poetry

Feature by

Four terrific new collections of verse will show beginning readers that the possibilities for poetry are everywhere—in the backyard, on city streets and even (surprise!) in the classroom. Here’s to the poets of tomorrow!

April 05, 2018

Pointing out the everyday possibilities for poetry

Feature by

Four terrific new collections of verse will show beginning readers that the possibilities for poetry are everywhere—in the backyard, on city streets and even (surprise!) in the classroom. Here’s to the poets of tomorrow!

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Four terrific new collections of verse will show beginning readers that the possibilities for poetry are everywhere—in the backyard, on city streets and even (surprise!) in the classroom. Here’s to the poets of tomorrow!

INSPIRED BY NATURE
Sarah Grace Tuttle pays tribute to the wonders of the outside world in Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife. Tuttle’s playful poetic romp through the great outdoors features pieces inspired by the insects, plants and—of course—animals that can be found in urban areas. Her free-verse poems are filled with strong imagery and arresting phrases. In “Falcon Fledge,” a baby peregrine falcon on a high-rise building “teeters thirty-two stories above / busy sidewalks and a traffic jam.” In “At the Park,” under the limbs of a willow tree, “two ducks dabble down— / heads underwater / tail feathers above.” “Community Garden” celebrates a flourishing neighborhood flower bed, where “snakes sun themselves / by the graffitied wall.” From a pesky mouse to a fierce feral cat, this memorable collection introduces youngsters to an intriguing cast of wild characters. Amy Schimler-Safford’s multilayered illustrations bring depth, richness and color to the proceedings. Little readers will enjoy identifying the wild creatures in this collection.

A TRIP TO THE GALLERY
A book that hints at the splendors housed in America’s largest museum, World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, features contributions from a group of acclaimed writers, including Marilyn Singer and Naomi Shihab Nye. Writing in response to images by Mary Cassatt, Kerry James Marshall, Gustav Klimt and other artists, each poet expresses a unique voice and vision. Julie Fogliano’s poem “Cat Watching a Spider” is the perfect companion to Ōide Tōkō’s painting of the same name, thanks to its brevity and playful rhyme scheme: “so silent and certain / a spider / can cause / a watchful and wondering cat / to pause.” In “Early Evening,” a poem inspired by Winslow Homer’s radiant “Boys in a Dory,” Charles Ghigna writes of “a watercolored world / where we float and dream, / soft and serene.” Filled with breathtaking reproductions of the artists’ work, World Make Way is an excellent tool for teaching young readers about the delights of visual art and the pleasures of poetry.

A CAUTIONARY COLLECTION
Angela McAllister uses poetry to explore endangered environments in the innovative book, Wild World. Rainforest and coral reef, desert and savanna, the Arctic and the outback—all are highlighted in this globe-trotting anthology of evocative free-verse poems. McAllister’s lovely, lyrical works provide fascinating perspectives on the Earth’s varied—and fragile—natural habitats while inspiring mindfulness and a sense of stewardship. “The Wild World is in danger, / Calling with many voices for your care. / What we see may soon be gone,” McAllister writes in the introductory poem. From “Mountain,” a natural monument “born in a collision of continents,” to “Prairie,” in which “plains of tall bluestem brush the bison’s shaggy hide,” this wide-ranging volume captures the essence of each locale. Thanks to the crisp illustrations of Danish design team Hvass and Hannibal, the book delivers a realistic visual sense of each setting. Wild World is the perfect blend of poetry and environmentalism.

CONNECTING IN THE CLASSROOM
Irene Latham and Charles Waters collaborate on a one-of-a-kind collection with Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. This lively anthology focuses on 5th-graders Irene and Charles (younger versions of the authors themselves), who get paired for a poetry project that they aren’t thrilled about. “Now I’m stuck with Irene?” Charles, who is African American, thinks. “She hardly says anything. Plus she’s white.” The engaging poems that follow chronicle everyday experiences—a beach trip, shopping, Sunday worship—and demonstrate the contrasting viewpoints of the two partners. In “Hair,” Irene describes her blond locks as “a curtain I can hide behind,” while in “Strands,” Charles gets angry when his hair attracts unwanted attention from a schoolmate. “My fists clench,” Charles writes, “and my face gets hot.” Artists Sean Qualls and Selina Alko work in a collage style that’s deceptively simple, creating childlike illustrations filled with color and texture. This is a winning anthology that offers important lessons about diversity and connection.

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Get the Books

Hidden City

Hidden City

By Sarah Grace Tuttle, illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
Eerdmans
ISBN 9780802854599
World Make Way

World Make Way

By Lee Bennett Hopkins
Abrams
ISBN 9781419728457
Wild World

Wild World

By Angela McAllister & Hvass & Hannibal
Wide Eyed Editions
ISBN 9781847809667
Can I Touch Your Hair?

Can I Touch Your Hair?

By Charles Waters & Irene Latham & Selina Alko, illustrated by Sean Qualls
Carolrhoda
ISBN 9781512404425

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