In her fourth volume of small poems, Worth presents us with 25 polished gems that reflect the world in all its particularities. Both the lyrics and Babbitt's black-and-white drawings are understated but astonishingly vivid. The poet focuses on homely thingscoat hangers, fleas, a starfish, a dandelionand makes us see what we carelessly miss. The tiger has ``swallowed/ A black sun'' and ``carries it still:/ Black flames/ Flicker through/ His fur.'' A skunk walks by, ``half vapor, half/ Shade, diffusing/ The night's uncanny/ Essence and atmosphere.'' The mantis bows ``such lean and monklike/ Shoulders'' and the poet asks if he is ``Wholly/ Holy Pretending/ To pray/ While intending/ To prey.'' Each image of these spare poems startles, and each verse reveals the sensibilities in a poet who respects her audience. (All ages)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6 The poet's ability to capture the essence of ordinary things in a few words is no better exemplified than in Worth's short poems, three volumes of which have been published previously (Farrar). Children will marvel at Worth's ability to examine familiar animals and everyday objects with not a wasted word. Particularly enchanting are ``The tiger /Has swallowed /A black sun. . . /Black flames /Flicker through /His fur'' or ``Library'': ``No need even /To take out /A book: only /Go inside /And savor /The heady /Dry breath of /Ink and paper, /Or stand and /Listen to the /Silent twitter /Of a billion / Tiny busy /Black words.'' The other 23 poems are equally perceptive and examine anteaters, giraffes, jacks, flies and coat hangers, among others. As in Worth's earlier poetry books, Babbit adds a perfectly complementary understated pen-and-ink drawing to each poem. A rare delight. Barbara McGinn, Oak Hill Elementary School, Severna Park, Md.