Review of Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems

Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems
by Irene Latham; illus. by Amy Huntington
Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge    32 pp.    g
4/20    978-1-62354-116-3    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-1-63289-881-4    $9.99

A nonet, as the first poem explains, is a “Grand / poem / with nine lines / one-syllable / first line builds toward / nine-syllable ninth line / (or the reverse). A staircase / for poets and readers alike! / (Any subject, rhyming optional.)” Latham’s nonets focus on a wide range of subjects, each related to the number nine — Apollo 9, the Little Rock Nine, being “dressed to the nines” — while loose-lined illustrations in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil show a diverse cast of kids engaging with each topic. Detail-oriented readers should find fun in counting syllables, and the language is well-chosen for read-alouds (in a poem about nighttime baseball: “Nine players like dancers / on a stage lit by starshine”), though there’s a forced line here and there. A closing note gives more information about the poem topics, the word nonet, and, of course, the number nine.

From the November/December 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax
Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor of The Horn Book Magazine, is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. She is a current member of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award committee, and has served on the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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