Spring Easter titles explore the sorrowful origins of the holiday, as well as its more celebratory aspects. In the poet Nikki Grimes's opening author's note for her extraordinary collection At Jerusalem's Gate: Poems of Easter, with woodcuts by David Frampton, she points out that "there are as many questions in the Easter story as there are answers." Her statement sets the stage for a respectful treatment of how Jesus came to be arrested ("This troublemaker/ rabble-rouse,/ thinks he will/ disturb the order/ by displays of/ healing power") in "A Conspiracy of Priests"; and covers the central liturgy in "The Passover" ("I soon will be betrayed/ by one of you," says Jesus"). Frampton's elegant woodcut to illustrate the treatment of Christ ("Call it what you will-/ lash, scourge, whip") shows a dove flying through curling barbed branches. These images in words and pictures will keep readers thinking about the book-and the Passion-long after the covers are closed. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Twenty-two free-form poems tell the story of the first Easter, beginning with the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through the voices of those who witnessed it. Each poem is preceded by a brief synopsis of the event, often accompanied by the author's own musings and queries, which prompt readers to think and ask questions of their own. References at the end cite the biblical passages upon which each poem is based, as well as descriptive notes. Bold, handsome woodcuts reinforce the powerful drama depicted in poetry. An outstanding effort worthy of inclusion in most collections.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Through beautiful, lucid free verse, Nikki Grimes explores some of the ambiguous, enigmatic events and circumstances leading up to the central theme behind the annual Easter observance. Twenty-two poems introduced by a brief explanatory paragraph portray the story through the imagined eyes of the principals involved. Details of the Last Supper, Pilate's wife's role, the religious council tribunal, Mary's grief, the darkening of the sky at the time of the crucifixion and the site of the ascension are all included. Questions raised in each piece encourage discussion of multiple interpretations, as in the poem titled "What's in a Name?," which refers to Judas's role as one of betrayer and the subsequent altered implication to his name. Poetry is gentle yet thoughtful, alluding to the brutality of the execution while providing an almost prayer-like personal reflection. Multi-colored woodcuts suggest the emotion and mood of each scene in a parody of stained glass. A handsome, well-designed offering for middle readers and families. (Poetry. 10+)