From endpaper to doodled endpaper, this mix of clever language and visual delights makes a dandy treat for all ages. Desimini's (Love Letters) mixed-media illustrations and Lewis's (A Hippopotamusn't) inventive poems converge in a single work stronger than either would be independent of the other. The interplay between words and pictures effectively conjures images from seasons to sports to the jungle. In "Lashondra Scores!" each line of the poem includes a word with the letter "O," which Desimini transforms into a basketball, creating an arc of text that follows the ball from Lashondra's hand to its eventual swish through the hoop. In another, the trunk of a weeping willow tree tells of a widow weeping, while its branches trail gracefully down, each containing the refrain, "Her wind-woven hair softly sweeping." The shape of a yellow-brown giraffe takes form against a background of forest green leaves in a concrete poem, "Giraffe": the words tail and stilts literally form the animal's corresponding anatomy as he "turns tail and hobbles away on wooden stilts." This lively and outstanding collection, reflecting a wide emotional range, will intrigue young artists and wordsmiths with its surprising use of color and unexpected wordplay. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a starred review, PW said of this collection of short poems, "The interplay between words and pictures effectively conjures images from seasons, to sports, to the jungle. From endpaper to doodled endpaper, this mix of clever language and visual delights makes a dandy treat for all ages." Ages 3-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 3-6--Lewis, who has long been a master of a variety of poetic forms, has created an inventive collection of concrete poems. In each selection, the essence of the subject is captured in the typeface used for the words, the shape in which the lines are arranged, and through Desimini's brilliant mixed-media collages. Lines about a skyscraper take the form of that structure ("I /am/ a/ nee/dle /of/steel/glass &/cement...") and are set against a background of a clouded sky, small silhouettes of pedestrians, and rows of taxis. In "Big Cat," the words "day delights/in jungle cries/night ignites/its tiger eyes" wrap around the eyes of a tiger that stare dramatically at readers from a double-page spread. Every page of this book is well designed, creating words and images that work together in harmony. From the lavender endpapers that feature a mix of childlike drawings and letters in different typefaces, and the magic-marker doodles surrounding the various shapes on the CIP page, to the final page, each spread is fresh and inviting. Doodle Dandies captures the joy that wordplay can bring. It deserves a place on every library shelf.--Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
Through fanciful design and illustration, these poems take both shape and flight as they soar through the imaginative landscape. Inventively rhymed, each of the small, witty poems is a concrete poem-designed to take the form of its subject. In several instances, the very text of the poem is set in the corresponding shape, so that, for example, the orange and yellow letters of giraffe actually create the body of the animal. This careful configuration allows the word tail to form the tail, and the last word of the poem, stilts, is repeated four times to become the giraffe's legs-providing the appro-priate image both visually and verbally. "First Burst of Spring" springs to life in one simple line placed above sneakered footprints in grainy dirt-"The day is cold, the earth is mud, but don't let anything stop you, Bud!"-with the word bud set as upwardly reaching green letters topped by a bright pink exclamation point, con-juring the perfect spring tulip. Desimini's mixed-media collage provides a wide variety of backdrops for the poems, from the orange, textured fur of a tiger's face filling an entire page to the soft dunes behind her oddly opalescent camels. Dark colors prevail for most of the book, lit occasionally by a blue sky or glowing moon. A true collaboration of text and art presenting poems that are pictures that are poems....
Lewis's book of poems is a pleasure and also a challenge, for readers must decipher the oddly skewed type; the volume is also a celebration of the natural world. Halley's Comet tears through the skyþ"a cosmic snowball made of dusty ice and gas. Once or twice a century I pass the Earth and Sun"þtrailing mists of typeface. A giraffe's "brown and yellow patchwork quilts, turns tail and hobbles away on wooden stilts" has word-legs that hang like pendulums. One poem explodes like a shower of fireworks, reads left, then right; another captures the haiku evanescence of a butterfly: "The butterfly is the fantasy fulfiller of every caterpillar." There is mirror writing, a winter's-night letter storm, and a salute to synchronized swimming. There is a delight in language that is economical: "An oyster boy, an oyster girl, an oyster dad, a mother-of-pearl." Desimini's mixed-media images contain a measure of sophisticated giddiness to give the poems an added fillip. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)