Want to know about one of my favorite new poetry titles, as we land here today smack dab in the middle of National Poetry Month? Well, I’m going to tell you, as well as show you art from another new picture book title I love (non-poetry, that is).
This is the opening poem from Lee Bennett Hopkins’ new picture book poetry collection, City I Love, illustrated by Marcellus Hall and released by Abrams Books for Young Readers this month. This is a collection of eighteen poems from Hopkins, poems serving as a tribute to the big cities of the world and everything that makes them pop, celebrating the diversity of city life. Hall, whose debut work illustrating a children’s title I evidently missed last year (but just promptly requested from the library), has created art work for many newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the New Yorker, and Time. In this title, he takes us to specific locales all over the world with his detailed and almost sparkling watercolor cartoons (Tokyo in “City Lights,” Moscow in “Winter,” and New Orleans in the haiku, “Sparrow,” to name but three). The visual thread holding the poems together is the dog-bluebird duo travelling the world in Hopkins’ poems, which range from contemplative to jubilant. The endpapers are composed of world maps, noting the cities which the dog and his companion travel. Map-lovers just might squeal.
I’ve got some spreads from it to show you so that we can let Hopkins’ engaging poetry and Hall’s art (which channels Syd Hoff a bit, and that’s a good thing) do the talking. Click on each spread to see better: