Nest Full of Stars: Poems

Overview

"Take me somewhere -- to wide-open countryside.
Let me redden and blacken my tongue with berries and cherries.
Let me skip with a flip in a trip. Take me somewhere."

In A Nest Full of Stars, James Berry will take you on a memorable trip through all the startling, humorous, sad, happy, painful, and joyful experiences of growing up. Here are birthdays and fireworks, quarrels and making up, and every sort of mood you can imagine. Here are the ...

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Overview

"Take me somewhere -- to wide-open countryside.
Let me redden and blacken my tongue with berries and cherries.
Let me skip with a flip in a trip. Take me somewhere."

In A Nest Full of Stars, James Berry will take you on a memorable trip through all the startling, humorous, sad, happy, painful, and joyful experiences of growing up. Here are birthdays and fireworks, quarrels and making up, and every sort of mood you can imagine. Here are the hills and valleys of friendships and family life. Here is a boy on a train, trying to make all the adults look at their watches. Here is a girl discovering the miracle of her hen's hidden nest of eggs and seeing it change into "a mighty nest full of stars." Most of all, here are poems that shake our senses and awaken us to the magic and mysteries all around.

The author draws on memories of his Carribbean childhood for sixty poems that capture the universal experiences of growing up.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jamaican-born poet Berry (When I Dance) celebrates his Caribbean heritage in this patchy collection of poems about childhood. Loosely organized around such topics as "Everyday Feelings" and "Together," Berry's best poems echo the rhythmic language of a Caribbean playground and invite readers to explore the natural world. Some poems, like the lengthy "Gobble-Gobble Rap," seem especially sure-footed and filled with infectious cadences and phrases: "Me do a whispa and a big shout/ with a meat-and-a-sweet mouth/ like a nonmeat, nonfish, puddn mouth/ which is a sleeper-waker, want-it-want-it mouth," it begins. Elsewhere, Berry's detailed descriptions of a seashell, of the "estate cowman" and of his Caribbean grandfather precisely and richly evoke their subjects. Many entries, however, seem pedestrian: "I love it when we play/ cricket or football/ or sit and watch a game on TV." Bryan (Beautiful Blackbird) contributes crisp black-and-white illustrations that resemble woodcuts. Large pictures introduce each section, while smaller images and designs accent some individual poems, creating a visual rhythm. Ages 7-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In his foreword, Berry explains that he was raised in Jamaica and always longed to hear the music of the Caribbean Creole language in poetry. These 60 selections, divided into six broad categories, are simple and spoken in the voice of a child. Most of the poems concern the universal events and emotions of childhood, such as the excitement of a good grade in school or the sounds of a snoring father, and will appeal to young writers and readers. However, the most interesting poems are those that depict island life. For example, from "Everyday Music": "All a mix together/village sounds make my music/with fighting dogs yelping/birds in trees twittering/a lonely goat bleating/hidden ground doves cooing/hidden mongoose shrieking." Occasional British words or island lingo may be unfamiliar to youngsters but the terms are defined at the bottom of the pages. Bryan's bold black-and-white prints appear throughout; they often have a stronger flavor of the Caribbean than the language. These poems are not as evocative as those found in Monica Gunning's Under the Breadfruit Tree (Boyds Mills, 2003), but Berry's collection will serve where additional simple poetry is needed.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060527471
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/2/2004
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Pages: 104
  • Age range: 7 years

Meet the Author

James Berry has received the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to poetry and the Signal Poetry Award for his children's poetry. His previous poetry collections, When I Dance and Everywhere Faces Everywhere, were published to rave reviews in the United States. His many awards and honors include the 1993 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction for his novel Ajeemah and His Son and a 1989 Coretta Scott King Honor for his collection of short stories A Thief in the Village and Other Stories of Jamaica. James Berry was born and raised in Jamaica and now lives in Brighton, England.

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