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Peacock and Other Poems Hardcover – March 19, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection of 27 poems by the late Worth (1933-94) once again heralds the joy of words, the way they feel in the mouth, the way they look on the page. "Ice Cream" makes the perfect example: "Melting, it Softly fills The mouth With something Like the velvet Word vanilla." Re-imagining everyday encounters, she urges readers to consider each and take pleasure in the entire sensory experience. "October" captures the month's role as a threshold to the wintry days ahead: "Frost a Presence in The woods: A sound Of footfalls, One here, One there, As the leaves Step down." The titular poem becomes a wry caution against vanity, "He fans Out that Famous halo, Turns it About for All to see, Folds it Down and Saunters away, Trailing his Heavy burden Of beauty. (Meanwhile, His freckled Brown wife Rambles around Him, plain And free.)" Babbitt (paired with Worth for Poems and More Small Poems) characterizes the feathered duo with sketches that play up the male's upright posture, head cocked, one foot aloft, while the female examines the ground for food, toes firmly planted. Worth knows just how to pace a collection, tethering loftier subjects to earthbound images near and dear to her readers' passions, such as in "Crayons": "Their paper Torn, their Snapped sticks Worn down To grubby Stubs, they Still shed The colors of The rainbow." This poet will be missed. All ages.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-6-Readers who have been charmed by Worth's "small poems" (All the Small Poems and Fourteen More [Farrar, 1996], etc.) will be pleased to find that she conceived of another collection before her death. Her characteristic free verse, with short lines and spare, rhythmic language, describes animals and objects from icicles to umbrellas, onions to ice cream. Whether it's the "Snapped sticks Worn down To grubby Stubs-" in "crayons" or a "fish" "-looking Up from its tray Of snow with A dolorous eye," the images and moods conveyed through word and sound will captivate readers and encourage them to focus their own imaginative eyes. Babbitt's black-and-white spot drawings face each poem with quiet detail that draws readers into the words. There is a lot of short, descriptive free verse available for this audience these days, but Worth's is a cut above-it's accessible, but fresh and surprising, and clearly attuned to language. Her work gives children something to admire and aim for. Three poems here have appeared previously in anthologies, but the others are mostly new treasures. Browsing through this slim book, readers may feel that they've indeed fanned open a peacock's tail.
Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (March 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374357668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374357665
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,860,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Vicki Arkoff on July 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
With a sly nod to W.B. Yeats' "The Peacock" from "Responsibilities and Other Poems," this new collection of 26 brief poems by the late American poet Valerie Worth, beautifully follows in the footprints of her admired "Small Poems" books. She obviously delighted in the process of crafting free verse about common objects from umbrellas and clouds to a delicious ode to ice cream. Her inviting, melodious rhythm is deceptively simple. For sophisticated readers, her spare, zen-like words will evoke the senses with meditative thoughts. For young readers, they paint mysterious pictures that gently stir the imagination and coax to sleep.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Storm on June 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 5-year-old loves this poetry and so do I. The poems are observations of mostly everyday things, but often with a twist that increases the readers' appreciation of the subject.
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