What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Nancy Doniger, Julie Paschkis, Chris Raschka, and Eugene Yelchin)

h1 April 8th, 2011 by jules

My Kirkus column for this week, which is at this link this morning, is all about the chapter book series Anna Hibiscus, published by Kane Miller Books. There are four titles thus far in the series, the latter two having been released just last month, and it wasn’t till these last two were released that I discovered the series as a whole. And I have to say: I can’t yawp about them loudly enough. They are entirely, without skipping a beat, enchanting. So, head on over there this morning if you’d like to read more about them. Next week, I’ll have some interior art from the series to share with you (as they are illustrated chapter books).

And, speaking of illustrations to share, at last week’s column I shared 3.1 new children’s poetry titles. (The “.1” is all on account of how I only have 600-800 words to express myself over there, which I think is, ultimately, a good thing for me to learn. Economy of expression, that is.) This was all in celebration of the launch of National Poetry Month. If you’d like to read that column (and weigh in with any recommended poetry titles), it’s here. As promised, here are some illustrations from each of those titles (the one opening this post is from Bob Raczka’s Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, illustrated by Nancy Doniger, but more on that below), as a discussion of them without a sneak-peek at the art is downright TRAGICAL.

First up, Julie Paschkis’s illustrations (without the text) for Monica Brown’s stirring picture book biography, Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People (Henry Holt, March 2011). Sweet heavenly Chilean poets, I love me some Julie Paschkis art (as evidenced by the number of times she appears on this page of 7-Imp):

ONCE there was a little boy named Neftali, who loved wild things wildly and quiet things quietly. From the moment he could talk, Neftali surrounded himself with words that whirled and swirled, just like the river that ran near his home in Chile.”

“Pablo wrote poems about the things he loved—things made by his artist friends, things found at the marketplace, and things he saw in nature. He wrote about scissors and thimbles and chairs and rings. He wrote about buttons and feathers and shoes and hats. He wrote about velvet cloth the color of the sea.”

“Pablo loved the sea and the feel of the sand beneath his feet. He loved walking along the beach, near his home in Chile. He found starfish and seaweed, red crabs and green water. He saw dolphins playing in the surf and rusty anchors washed ashore.”

“Pablo had many homes. One was in Spain, half a world away. This home was called the House of Flowers, because of the red flowers blooming from every corner. The House of Flowers was always filled with dogs and people young and old. Because above all things and above all words, Pablo Neruda loved people. Pablo loved mothers and fathers, poets and artists, children and neighbors, and his many friends around the world. He opened his arms to them all.”

Next up, a spread from poet Marvin Bell’s first children’s book, A Primer About the Flag (Candlewick, March 2011), illustrated by Chris Raschka. (Again, to read more about the books, head to last week’s column.)

“There are State flags / and State Fair flags…”
(Click to enlarge this beautiful spread.)

Here are three spreads from Lee Wardlaw’s Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Henry Holt, February 2011), illustrated by Eugene Yelchin:

The Choosing: Dogs have hair. Cats, fur. / Dogs whine, yip, howl, bark.
Cats purrr. / I say: No contest.”

The Naming: Buster? Bubba? SPIKE? / Great Rats! Those don’t befit an / Oriental prince. / Cleo. Leia. Belle. / Got a tick in your ear? I / said prince, not princess. /
Won Ton? How can I / be soup? Some day, I’ll tell you / my real name. Maybe.”

“Oops! I mistook these / for wiggly worms. I didn’t / know they were your toes. / Eavesdropping, I hear: / ‘My cat.’ Great Rats! Don’t you know / yet that you’re
My Boy? / Your tummy, soft as / warm dough. I knead and knead, then /
bake it with a nap.”

Finally, I’m happy to be sharing these poems from Bob Raczka’s Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word (Roaring Brook, March 2011), illustrated by Nancy Doniger, ’cause a) I love Raczka’s wordplay here, and b) it is possible—even before breakfast—to describe these poems (as I attempted over at Kirkus last week) but much easier to just show them. Enjoy.

Today’s Poetry Friday round-up is at Madigan Reads.

* * * * * * *

LEMONADE: AND OTHER POEMS SQUEEZED FROM A SINGLE WORD. Text copyright © 2011 by Bob Raczka. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Nancy Doniger. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Roaring Brook, New York.

PABLO NERUDA: POET OF THE PEOPLE. Text copyright © 2011 by Monica Brown. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Julie Paschkis. Published by Henry Holt, New York. Images reproduced by permission of the illustrator.

A PRIMER ABOUT THE FLAG. Text copyright © 2011 by Marvin Bell. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Chris Raschka. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

WON TON: A CAT TALE TOLD IN HAIKU. Text copyright © 2011 by Lee Wardlaw. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Eugene Yelchin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Henry Holt, New York.

8 comments to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Nancy Doniger, Julie Paschkis, Chris Raschka, and Eugene Yelchin)”

  1. I LOVE the squeezed poem idea and immediately want to try it. NOT so easy as it looks at all, but FUN.

    And as a great admirer (and friend) of poet Marvin Bell, with whom I taught for many years at Centrum Writers’ Conference, I say: WHOOT! WHOOT!

    Thanks again, Jules.


  2. Gorgeous, all.

  3. The Pablo Neruda art is GORGEOUS. Love the incorporation of words in the pictures.

    Those squeezed poems are too clever. Yay for breakfast and spaghetti!

  4. The Pablo Neruda book blew me away!! Gorgeous. Won Ton is already on my list of books-to-buy, and Lemonade looks so clever, in the best sense of the word.

  5. oh my aren’t those charming.
    i like seeing all of those lovely
    illustrations of neruda and the sea…
    for adults, there is a very nice
    anthology out, the “essential neruda”
    published by city lights, and are
    coming out with an enthusiastically
    anticipated film about “the poet
    of the people” ,as well–
    you can keep up with the nerudasphere
    there, at http://www.redpoppy.net/pablo_neruda.php
    always nice to read him, especially when the spring
    is slowly coming in !

  6. I tried a squeezed poem. Not easy. Not. At. All.

    Gotta get Won Ton.

    Paschkis’ Neruda reminds me of Melissa Sweet’s WCW.

  7. Must have the Neruda, absolutely.

    Just realized you live in Smyrna, where my son, DIL, and their fascinating young friends live. We visit often. Since I’ve just followed the breadcrumb trail over from RAMH, I’ll take some time to get better acquainted.

  8. Nance, definitely! Let me know if you’re ever in town.

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