Corcoran, Jill Dare to Dream…Change the World
Gr. 4–6 40 pp. Kane/Miller
Illustrated by J. Beth Jepson. Thirty well-known poets celebrate people from all walks of life who have changed the world; honorees include Jonas Salk, Georgia O’Keeffe, and even the YouTube creators. Each is spotlighted on a double-page spread with two poems and a biographical paragraph atop Jepson’s vibrant, collage-like illustrations. It’s a melting pot of poetic styles and subjects, but the cohesion here is provided by the inspirational message.
Subjects: Poetry collections; Biographies
Koertge, Ron Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses
High school 88 pp. Candlewick
Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö. With a contemporary sensibility and voice pitched perfectly to teenagers, Koertge retells, in free verse and from various points of view, twenty-three familiar tales. It’s a swell mix of the comical, concrete, and macabre. Dezsö’s choice of cut-paper illustrations is brilliant, a nod to Hans C. Andersen’s skill in that medium despite her radically different tone. Perfect for grabbing a restive class’s attention.
Subjects: Poetry; Fairies; Folklore
Levine, Gail Carson Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems
Gr. K–3 80 pp. HarperCollins/Harper
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Levine unapologetically riffs on William Carlos Williams’s poem “This Is Just to Say” in this collection of light verse that shows readers there’s a lot more to be un-sorry about besides purloined chilled plums. Accompanied by an appropriately scruffy, subversive cartoon, each poem mimics Williams’s structure. Levine’s spirited encouragement of readers to write their own false apology poems will likely be heeded.
Subjects: Poetry; Humorous poetry; Williams, William Carlos
Lewis, J. Patrick If You Were a Chocolate Mustache
Gr. 4–6 160 pp. Boyds/Wordsong
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. These poems in various forms and on a range of topics—from everyday things to fantastical creatures to purely nonsensical ideas—have silliness in common; many seem inspired by wordplay, exploring homonyms, anagrams, and more. Lewis calls for enough interpretation to invite second readings. Cordell’s pen-and-ink drawings succeed at conveying movement and the impish mood with spare lines. Ind.
Subjects: Poetry; Humorous poetry
Singer, Marilyn A Stick Is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play
Gr. K–3 40 pp. Clarion
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Eighteen poems celebrate the old-fashioned kind of play, where the only equipment you need is a ball or a piece of chalk. Singer uses different styles of poetry and moves the poems from morning to dusk. Pham’s illustrations match the retro feel of the games and feature a multicultural group of children, with wide eyes and wide smiles, enjoying the exciting play.
Subjects: Poetry; Play
From the June 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.