professornana (professornana) wrote,


No covers for either book. Look for them from Boyds Mills Press in the fall. RED SLED by Patricia Thomas is a simple poem about a dad and his son on a red sled on a crisp winter's evening. Chris Demarest's illustrations are a perfect accompaniment: simple and glowing. The structure of the poem is akin to the ancient form of writing called chiasmus which creates a mirror image, one half the reverse of the other. This is a picture book perfect for writing class (though not here in Texas as it dies not teach grammar, too).

The second book is a collaboration between two of my favorite poets for children and teens: Paul Janeczko and J. Patrick Lewis. BIRDS ON A WIRE takes the form of a renga, an ancient form where poets take turns adding verses. (The haiku evolved from the renga). Each verse links to the one preceding it and not to the other verses. I think of this as like the story starter we used to do in class where one person would begin the story, and then subsequent folks would come along and add to it, feeling free to take it in new directions. CLICK, the story collection from this year, is similar, too. But back to BIRDS ON A WIRE. Read it for the sheer joy of the language exquisitely wrought by the two poets. Paper boats carry news to nowhere, a pigeon rides the bench in an empty dugout, and coiffed women display their lacquered (but natural) hairdos for all to see. Gary Lippincott's illustrations hearken back to a simple time and place. They allow the words to sing on their own without overtaking them.

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