From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3--With these 21 offerings, Greenfield celebrates the poet and the written word. The book opens solidly with the title piece, which has a childlike, balanced cadence: "In the land/of words,/I stand as still/as a tree,/and let the words/rain down on me." Its lovely metaphor is strikingly well realized in Gilchrist's fabric-art illustration. A tree trunk laid down the middle acts as a bridge between the facing pages, with the image of a child standing with arms upraised on one side and the text set against white space on the other. Most of the selections in the first section, "The Poet/The Poem," have been published in earlier works. They include favorites such as "Nathaniel's Rap" and "Making Friends" from Nathaniel Talking
(Black Butterfly, 1988; o.p.). Part two, "In the Land," contains mostly new compositions; unfortunately, they are less memorable. "Poet/Poem," for example, features a singsong dialogue that begins: "Where are you, words,/the ones that will fit/the thoughts I am thinking/as here I sit?" Even as they earnestly celebrate the power of language, they are rendered pallid by their uninspired, lackluster vocabulary. The final selection, "I Go to the Land," fails to respond to the promise of the opening poem: "The more I drink/of the falling water,/the more I know./I drink. I think./I grow." The pictures are likewise a mixed bag: while the children depicted are winsome, a number of poems are sparsely illustrated with rather generic objects. All in all, this is a disappointing effort from two distinguished artists.--Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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PreS. Anyone who has heard Greenfield perform her poetry will recognize the read-aloud appeal in this collection of 21 poems. From old favorites such as "Nathaniel's Rap" ("Gotta talk that talk / Till you go for a walk") to new poems such as "Story" ("I step into the story / I leave my world behind"), the very simple rhymes show and tell the joy of words, their meaning, and also their glorious-sounding nonsense ("dibbily-doobily-doo"). Gilchrist, who has illustrated several books by Greenfield, here uses sewn fabric collage for the first time, and it works beautifully, with elemental shapes, colors, and movement that capture the rhythm and still leave lots of space for the words to do their magic. A great read-aloud for toddlers as well as older preschoolers. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved