Gr 1-3-Two old favorites strut their signature stuff in this collection for somewhat-beyond beginning readers. Divided into the four seasons, Zolotow's 40 poems, often in a child's first-person voice, are brief (4-17 lines), evocative reflections on and responses to the natural world, but they also tap feelings that children experience regardless of the season. "I'm mad at my mother and she at me"; "It's no fun days I've done something mean." The large type and short lines, the leading, the choice of words, and the lyrical repetition all make the text inviting to independent readers. Using concrete language and images for the most part, the poems occasionally venture into the abstract: "a message in another language spoken to a part of me who hasn't happened yet," which may extend their appeal to somewhat older children. Featuring youngsters in charming country settings, Blegvad's precise ink drawings are washed with a delicate full-color palette and reinforce the quiet, thoughtful mood of the selections. The winsome (if a bit generic) children are by turns pensive, inquisitive, joyous, or secretly smiling. There are several other collections of seasonal poetry available, of course, but none so attractively designed with early readers and their emotional world in mind.-Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Two venerable contributors have teamed up to make a small collection of poetry for beginning readers. The I Can Read series has usually produced fine volumes that new young readers can actually read themselves; this has the added attraction of introducing various kinds of verse forms, both rhymed and unrhymed, in very short bursts. The contents are divided by season: Eleven poems each for "Winter Bits" and "Spring Things" and nine poems each for "Summer Thoughts" and "The Feel of Fall." Not all are completely successful, but most capture that essence of perception that is good poetry. "The crickets / fill the night / with their voices- / It is like / a message / in another language / spoken to a part / of me / who hasn't / happened yet." That's "The Crickets" in its entirety. Although the city is mentioned in some verses, the imagery is decidedly rural if not downright rustic, with wooden fences, dirt roads, and meadows in evidence. Children wear helmets to ride their bikes, and carry backpacks, but the pictures are timeless, if in country mode. Blegvad (First Friends, not reviewed, etc.) is a master of the vibrant line and telling detail-every leaf blows in the wind just so; every child has his or her own specific energy or repose. A small delight. (Poetry. 6-9)