Gr 1 Up-- The author and illustrator of A New Treasury of Poetry (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1990) dish up a delicious buffet of poetry, from Thomas Dekker's ``Cradle Song'' to the work of Nikki Giovanni and several younger writers, interspersed with plenty of verses from both Anonymous and Traditional. Intending to take readers out of the nursery and into the wider poetic world, Philip blends the extremely familiar (``The world is so full of a number of things,'' and, yes, ``The fog comes/ on little cat feet,'', with less commonly found classics and some challenging pieces: Lear's ``Jumblies,'' Ezra Pound's ``A girl,'' and Ted Hughes's ``Amulet.'' Most, not all, of the selections are short, complete, and traditional in form; Philip links them thematically and makes fascinating juxtapositions. (On the same page, Robert Herrick and William Carlos Williams describe equally delicate steps, for instance, though one is speaking of a woman, the other of a cat.) Lawrence's illustrations are done in a flicking, crosshatched pen technique and have a lively look, with daubed colors and diminuitive, expressively drawn figures. Children will be back for multiple helpings of this inviting, varied banquet.-- John Peters, New York Public Library
This solid introductory anthology for children is for a younger audience than that of "A New Treasury of Poetry" by the same compiler/illustrator team. Eighty-five works that traverse decades and styles are showcased, sewn together in a loosely thematic patchwork. The educational value rates high for younger readers with traditionals such as "How Many Days Has My Baby to Play?" and "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe"; middle readers will set sail with daring narrative poems, like Edward Lear's "The Jumblies"; some more quiet, challenging verse awaits older readers; and there are romping songs and ditties for all. Most of the time Philip draws from the canon with taste and clarity. However, a few choices send questioning messages, e.g., "There's a Black Boy in a Ring, tra la la la la." The book moves well, though, and the page layout calls attention to the words handsomely. Lawrence's often whimsical illustrations aid the classical mode of the collection, though at times the black-and-white sketches appear flat; however, both the color and the black-and-white drawings are well placed for reading enjoyment.