Contrary to grownup advice, most kids know that drawing (or doing anything, for that matter) outside the lines can be a whole lot of fun. Concrete poet Brad Burg and illustrator Rebecca Gibbon's rolling, swinging, skipping, bouncing book of "poetry at play" pays delightful tribute to this concept. Each of Burg's 22 poems traces the patterns of the games they celebrate: "Catch" requires a dizzying feat of visual agility, as each word appears all the way across the page from the next, like a ball zooming from player to player. "Paper Airplane" follows the flight pattern of a newsprint jet until it winds up in the peeved teacher's hair. And "Slide" climbs slowly up the steps "all the way up to the tippy-top," only to plummet down the other side: "ooh what / a ride / I slide / and glide / I slip and / slide and / slide and / slide and / then I / stop." Gibbon's watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations are playful and appealing. Young readers will be tickled to discover that poems not only don't have to rhyme, they don't even have to stay within the lines! (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
The poems in this high-energy debut collection mimic the shapes and forms of the children's games they celebrate. A poem about a girl on a swing follows her arc as she flies through the air, leaving a trail of words across the page; the poem "Tic-Tac-Toe" requires some knowledge of the game in order to follow the verse's flow (or else it teaches the rules as readers go along). First-time illustrator Gibbon's understated watercolor spreads and vignettes accent Burg's whimsy without overshadowing it. "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," for instance, shows only the guiding hands of the onlookers around the edges, together with a subtle sprinkling of balloons and confetti to imply a party atmosphere. In a tour-de-force, one of Burg's briefest poems puts words to the act of looking at sky and ground while rolling down a hill: "Green/ green/ blue/ blue/ green/ green/ blue/ blue/ dandelion!/ green/..."; a dizzy boy lies at the bottom of the slope as his panting dog comes running. The adventurous verses try everything from kite-flying to castle-building. Young readers will identify with most, if not all of them, and will appreciate the way their experiences can be preserved on the page. Ages 5-up.
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