Pack your book bag--it's time for school! Eminent poets Carl Sandburg, Jane Yolen, and Myra Cohn Livingston join pens with newer writers to celebrate that most delicious of autumn icons: school supplies. A "wide-awake / freshly-painted-yellow / school bus" takes 30 students to school, where they spend their day with ballet-dancing ballpoint pens, tiny-jawed dragons (paper clips), lunch bags full of mysteries, and all the colors of the world in a box of crayons. Sixteen beautiful poems by a diverse array of wordsmiths, collected by poet Lee Bennett Hopkins (anthologist of Hand in Hand: An American History Through Poetry
and Sports! Sports! Sports! A Poetry Collection
to name two of many) provide an unusual, absolutely delightful new perspective on the ordinary tools of school. Renee Flower's energetic, almost garish watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are captivating, although they seem out of balance with the elegant verses. All in all, though, this is a striking compilation that will appeal to kids, parents, and teachers, especially in the days leading up to the beginning of school. (Ages 5 and older) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Inveterate anthologist Hopkins (Side by Side: Poems to Read Together) begins one of his best collections with a verse of his own about a "freshly-painted-yellow/ school bus" that carries not only "thirty pairs of sleepy eyes" but "hundreds/ upon hundreds/ of/ school supplies." Balancing work from such poets as Carl Sandburg and Myra Cohn Livingston with noteworthy entries from talented newcomers, he selects uniformly strong poems. Each provides crisp images that transform ordinary school utensils into verbal fun: ordinary paper clips become "dragon grips" with "jaws/ no bigger/ than an inch" (Rebecca Kai Dotlich); a compass "draws/ a perfect circle/ like a skater gracefully/ tracing/ half a figure eight/ on paper ice" (Georgia Heard); lines in a new notebook run "like telephone wires" while "the alphabet settles between them,/ comfortable as a flock of crows" (Judith Thurman). Flower's (City Noise) zany illustrations fill the pages with sprawling, wildly colored designs of cubist-style children and enough animated crayons, erasers and alphabet letters to please both teachers and students ready to begin a new year. Ages 4-8.
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