A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down

Overview

Engaging and innovative, A Meal of the Stars shows how we live in a swaying, crashing, rising, falling–but utterly magical–world. With art merry and spirited, this distinctive collection of up and down poems reveals the extraordinary in the ordinary, resulting in a book young readers won’t want to put down!

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Overview

Engaging and innovative, A Meal of the Stars shows how we live in a swaying, crashing, rising, falling–but utterly magical–world. With art merry and spirited, this distinctive collection of up and down poems reveals the extraordinary in the ordinary, resulting in a book young readers won’t want to put down!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Theme mirrors structure in Jensen’s book of verse, composed of poems printed vertically, one word per line, that read from top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top. Children peer down from Ferris wheel cars (“as/ the/ Ferris/ wheel/ stops/ at/ its/ highest/ point/ we/ gaze/ down/ upon/ the/ moving/ sounds/ and/ colors/ of/ this/ carnival/ world”), and in another scene, in which the poem starts at the bottom, a child holds tightly to the tail of a kite. “if/ wind/ is/ right/ and/ string/ is tight/ a/ paper/ kite/ in/ spring/ will/ soar/ above/ leafing/ trees/ to/ loop/ and/ dance/ with/ birds/ and/ clouds/ in/ blue/ skies/ far/ away.” Words and pictures pull readers along in a visceral reading experience. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Imaginative and accessible, these verses show how the most ordinary of pleasures can pique a child's or a pair of friends' curiosity to explore the natural and urban worlds."—Booklist

"This quiet, thoughtful collection shows that not all poetry is meant to be read in a straightforward manner."—School Library Journal

"Words and pictures pull readers along in a visceral reading experience."—Publishers Weekly

"The imagery is precise and accessible, with touches of both whimsy and realism."—Bulletin

School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—This quiet, thoughtful collection shows that not all poetry is meant to be read in a straightforward manner. Delightful, almost cartoonlike watercolor and ink illustrations provide the backdrop for these vertical poems that contain no punctuation so it is initially unclear if they should be read up or down. Black-and-white renderings of realistic scenes are juxtaposed with scenes of dreamlike fantasy—flowers with faces, smiling moons, rocket ships, friendly giraffes—giving a glimpse into the imaginations of the young people depicted. The poems reflect the whimsy of childhood, where the mundane becomes grandiose, and offer observations on diverse subjects such as space, oceans, kite flying, and the magic of starlight. Children will enjoy figuring out how the poems should be read and might even be inspired to write an "up and down" verse of their own.—Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Jensen's debut yields 15 skinny poems, 10 of which are meant to be read from bottom to top. The untitled poems' subjects range from the lofty--stars and rockets--to the mundane--a winter jacket's zipper, a ladybug's hike up a dandelion stem. Each line consists of just one word. Neither punctuation nor capitalization appears, rendering natural breaks tricky to discern. A waterfall poem reads "roaring / crashing / sparkling / and / white / oh / what / a / thunder / heaving / its / mighty / heart / the / waterfall / splashes / out / its / lovely / blue / music / on / the / slippery / rocks / below." Poems soar, as in one about a kite, but they can also fall a bit flat, without rising from reportage to evocative engagement. Tusa's quirky watercolor-and-ink illustrations invite browsing; black-and-white vignettes alternate with full-color pages. Rather than visually extending the poems, the pictures seem catapulted beyond them: A simple verse narrating an elevator ride appears against a double-page spread showing the narrator in a penthouse with a rooftop pool, a deck with a swing and a bike, an open-air bedroom and fruit trees. The choice to depict successive children throughout rather than to visually capture a consistent narrator seems a missed opportunity in a title that could have profited from more cohesion. Ambitious but flawed. (Picture book/poetry. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547390079
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/20/2012
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,410,169
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Dana Jensen both writes poetry and teaches it to children. He has taught poetry with the Twin Cities’ COMPAS Writers and Artists in the School’s program for many years. He makes his debut with this collection.

TRICIA TUSA has written and illustrated many wonderful picture books, including In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck; Mrs. Spitzer's Garden by Edith Pattou; The Magic Hat by Mem Fox; The End of the Beginning by Avi; and her own Follow Me .

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