Review of Winter Bees

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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Rick Allen Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-547-90650-8    $17.99 In winter, bees (“we are nothing on our own”) keep their precious queen warm by massing together into a “sizzling ball.” Hibernating garter snakes, safe in a cave, “’round each other twist […]

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems

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Before we start chatting about specific 2014 picture books, take a moment to read the Caldecott criteria. They’re posted over there on the right, but I will help you find the important parts. Here they are, in part: In identifying a “distinguished American picture book for children,” defined as illustration, committee members need to consider: […]

Review of Poisoned Apples

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Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann; 
photos by various artists High School    Greenwillow    106 pp. 10/14    978-0-06-228957-5    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-228959-9    $9.99 For this poet, there is no dividing line between fairy tales and reality: “You can lose your way anywhere,” claims the poem with which she begins this collection […]

Five questions for Christine Heppermann

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Poet Christine Heppermann is a young adult book reviewer, a backyard chicken enthusiast, and the author of several nonfiction books for children and young adults. With her first YA poetry collection, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty (Greenwillow, 14 years and up), Heppermann reveals herself to be a thoughtfully astute observer of — and […]

Review of Hi, Koo!

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Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    32 pp. 3/14    978-0-545-16668-3    $17.99 Twenty-six haiku are presented by young panda Koo, whom fans of Muth’s Zen Ties will recognize as the haiku-spouting nephew of Stillwater, the Zen Buddhist panda from Zen Shorts and Zen Ghosts. Here, […]

Books that feature poets

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy

Recently some friends of mine from Brookline High — Mary Burchenal and Ric Calleja — were interviewed in the Boston Globe about whether poetry is starting to disappear from schools. I don’t really know, but I sure hope not. In lots of classrooms I visit, poetry is certainly a part of the curriculum. But I […]

Review of A Pond Full of Ink

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A Pond Full of Ink by Annie M. G. Schmidt; trans. 
from the Dutch by David Colmer; illus. by Sieb Posthuma Intermediate    Eerdmans    40 pp. 3/14    978-0-8028-5433-9    $16.00    g A skinny, long-nosed poet fills his pen from the ink pond in his garden and offers the reader a selection of story poems featuring personalities old […]

Books in Remembrance of Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

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We were saddened to hear of the passing of Maya Angelou. Here are some books by which to help remember the great author and poet. Adoff, Arnold and Andrews, Benny, Editors I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by African Americans 208 pp. Simon 1997. ISBN 0-689-81241-8 PE ISBN 0-689-80869-0 YA (New […]

Review of Sugar Hill

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Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by R. Gregory Christie Primary    Whitman    32 pp. 2/14    978-0-8075-7650-2    $16.99 “Sugar Hill, Sugar Hill where life is sweet” repeats throughout this rhymed tribute to Harlem’s storied neighborhood, the home of many well-to-do African Americans in the first half of the twentieth century. Although we […]

Notable novels in verse

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After highlighting a variety of poetry picture books in the April issue of Notes from the Horn Book and March issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book, we wanted to feature some of the notable novels in verse from the last year before National Poetry Month 2014 comes to a close. Intermediate After Gabby’s […]