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Touch the Poem

Touch the Poem

by Arnold Adoff

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Booklist--March, 2000

Adoff, Arnold. Illus. by Desimini, Lisa. Touch the Poem. Apr. 2000. 32p. Scholastic/Blue Sky, $16.95 (0-590- 47970-9). DDC: 811.
Ages 4-8. The solid imagery of Adoffs poetry takes on a visual dimension when paired with Desimini's bold pho- tographs. The experiences that touch a child's senses are celebrated here in poems that range from a walk on the beach to the feel of the fuzz on a peach as it rubs against the eater's lip. Sometimes both the poetry and the art are whimsical. A verse about the ways a little girl can relieve an itchy back ends with the idea of dropping a cat down her shirt. The photograph shows the girl sitting with her back to the camera, paw marks running down her shirt, and the cat trotting out of the picture. Other poems and illustrations are more observational: a few lines about what ice cream tastes like on a hot day, with a picture of a child's head tipped back as the child licks an ice-cream cone. Not all the pictures are successful. In one photo a baby's leg looks more like an arm with a foot attached. But in most cases, the colorfw photos and the bright words will please a wide age range. -Ilene Cooper

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Adoff and Desimini (Love Letters) salute the senses, especially touch, in this well-balanced collaboration. Written in Adoff's familiar "shaped speech" style, the initial title poem depicts a girl caressing her face: "As I Look At The O p e n Book/ On My Table:/ Each Poem/ A Gentle/ Touch." The poems describe physical sensations ("I/ .../ Rub/ The Palm/ Of My Hand/ On/ Daddy's/ Stubble/ C h e e k") and sensuous contact ("F u z z/ Of Peach Skin/ Round/ R u b s/ My Upper Lip Just/ B e f o r e/ First/ Bite"). Although the language is sometimes repetitious, the accumulation of detail evokes the sensation of the described activity. The shaped speech, however, seems random rather than integral to the rhythm of the poems. Desimini's striking mixed-media collages, on the other hand, make consistently pertinent use of off-center techniques, their ability to startle an effective contrast to Adoff's low-key approach. The girl of the title poem, for example, is shown in a photo superimposed onto the page of an open book, which in turn is shown held by a pair of hands placed where the reader's own hands would be, creating a book-within-a-book telescoping conceit. Illustrations are turned sideways, a reflection of a child's face is tipped into a drop of water, outsize images confound viewers' sense of scale. All in all, a tactile and visual treat. Ages 4-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Adoff has done it again! This collection of poems about our sense of touch will also put the other four senses into high gear. Everyday experiences are captured and held suspended for a moment--just long enough to make the reader think about them in a new way. Adoff plays with the conventions of writing in several ways--varied spacing of letters and words, line lengths, shapes of poems, and the use of capital letters for every word. At the same time, Desimini mixes many media forms to create appealing visual images such as an infant's foot resting in the palm of a child's hand, and a face completely surrounded by bubbles in a bathtub. Sometimes the presentation is vertical, other times it is horizontal. Children will see a whole new side of poetry in this book. 2000, Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, Ages 6 to 10, $16.95. Reviewer: Carol Lynch
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-In this interesting and original mix of photos, poetry, and computer graphics, Adoff and Desimini focus on the small moments in life. Each poem and illustration explores the human senses and how they can make even a second seem memorable. From the dedication page to the last selection that ends, "We Shine Together In Dark Night," this is a seamless effort that carries its theme throughout the book while each poem can be enjoyed on its own. The placement of the poems reinforces the words. Some of the selections are on one page, with the illustration on the facing page. Others run down the side of the picture. On other spreads, both the poem and the illustration run vertically along the spread. Clever computer graphics add their own touches. In one spread, a cat's footprints run down a girl's shirt. Funny, joyful, and creative.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
There is poetry in the art and in the juxtaposition of art and text, as well as in the words themselves in this second ingenious poetry collection by Adoff and Desimini (Love Letters, 1997, etc.). The pleasures of touch are expressed on every page, from the handprint on the title page to the baby's footprint accompanying the colophon. A poem about the feel of a peach is reminiscent of Eve Merriam's classic "How to Eat a Poem" in its celebration of the poetry of the senses. From "The Palm / Of My Left Hand" rubbing "Along The Hair / Behind My Ear" with its photo of a young girl, her palm on her cheek and her fingers tangled in her hair, to footprints in the mud, the feel of "Daddy's / Stubble / Cheek," a baby's toes, and a bathtub full of bubbles, words and images enhance each other's impact. Desimini's mixed-media collages of photographs, paintings, paper, and computer graphics are full of surprises, sometimes appearing sideways, sometimes looking first like one thing (a sandy beach) and then like something else (there are lips in the sand!). The interplay of words and images expresses the playfulness and multiplicity of poetry itself, creating a rich effect that will draw readers back again and again. (Picture book/poetry. 4-9)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Poetry and Story Collections Series
Product dimensions:
10.25(w) x 10.45(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Arnold Adoff grew up in the Bronx where he discovered his love for writing. After graduating from New York’s City College, he went on to study at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. He was a teacher and counselor for twelve years and has taught in other educational projects at New York University and Connecticut College. Adoff lives with his wife, celebrated writer Virginia Hamilton and says his own writings reflect our diverse world and “go beyond the so-called ‘American’ literature texts I encountered as a student and teacher.”

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