"Perdomo captures the excitement of an African-American girl anticipating a visit to the [poet's] Harlem brownstone," PW wrote. "Collier's heady blend of watercolor and mixed media collage evokes the history of the writer's life and times." Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A paean to Langston Hughes in lilting jazz rhythms, poet and Harlem native Willie Perdomo's spare narrative follows a young girl as she visits Hughes's brownstone home in Harlem. Coretta Scott King Awardee Bryan Collier's watercolor and collage illustrations match the feeling of Perdomo's words. His images are riff with emotion rather than realism. The little girl's pink-striped shirt and her daddy's faux alligator jacket add to the color of the place-and to each of them as individuals. This is a book filled with pride; a book meant to give pride. A prefatory Author's Note gives a brief biographical sketch of Hughes, which emphasizes his motivations as a writer. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
A rhythmic poem in praise of Langston Hughes and the writer's craft. The poem is presented by a young girl who is off to visit Hughes's Harlem home with her father. It begins, "Today I'm going to wear/My favorite pink blouse/I'm going with my daddy/To visit Langston's house." Readers quickly learn that, like Hughes, the girl is a writer and resident of Harlem. Powerful in its simplicity, the text explores the child's special connection to the famous man. "He can tell you why my/Dreams run wild/Why Daddy says I'm like/Langston's genius child." Text and illustrations complement one another perfectly as the pages of the book come to life with energetic purpose and delight. Done with a mixture of collage and watercolor with dramatic results, Collier's artwork uses muted shades of green, purple, and brown and yet shines with brilliant bits of patterns and textures. While this is obviously an urban landscape, the girl's enthusiasm and talent have universal appeal. Be sure to use this impressive collaboration to introduce young readers to the life and work of the poet (a brief author's note with some dates and titles is included) but be sure it reaches young writers as well.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A little girl is going with her daddy to visit the home of Langston Hughes. She too is a poet who writes about the loves of her life-her mommy and daddy, hip-hop, hopscotch, and double-dutch, but decidedly not kissing games. Langston is her inspiration because his poems make her "dreams run wild." In simple, joyful verse Perdomo tells of this "Harlem girl" from "Harlem world" whose loving, supportive father tells her she is "Langston's genius child." The author's own admiration for Hughes's artistry and accomplishments is clearly felt in the voice of this glorious child. Langston's spirit is a gentle presence throughout the description of his East 127th Street home and his method of composing his poetry sitting by the window. The presentation is stunning. Each section of the poem is part of a two-page spread. Text, in yellow, white, or black, is placed either within the illustrations or in large blocks of color along side them. The last page of text is a compilation of titles of Hughes's poems printed in shades of gray in a myriad of fonts. Collier's (Martin's Big Words, 2001, etc.) brilliantly complex watercolor-and-collage illustrations provide the perfect visual complement to the work. From the glowing vitality of the little girl, to the vivid scenes of jazz-age Harlem, to the compelling portrait of Langston at work, to the reverential peak into Langston's home, the viewer's eye is constantly drawn to intriguing bits and pieces while never losing the sense of the whole. In this year of Langston Hughes's centennial, this work does him great honor.
"From the glowing vitality of the little girl, to the vivid scenes of jazz-age Harlem, to the compelling portrait of Langston at work, to the reverential peak into Langston’s home, the viewer’s eye is constantly drawn to intriguing bits and pieces while never losing the sense of the whole." Kirkus Reviews