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Call Me Marianne Hardcover – January 1, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4–Bryant has created a fictional chance encounter between a boy and an elderly Marianne Moore as they ride a Brooklyn bus to the zoo in the 1940s. While Moore is the focus of the story, Jonathan is the narrator, and his words have a poetic quality. The poets hat looks like a piece of black cloth or a shingle thats blown off a roof and the words she has written in her journal line up in rows like obedient soldiers. Moore points out, I see that you and I think alike, a statement that refers to more than just the fact that they both chose the same Saturday destination. Jonathan asks, What, exactly, does a poet do? and Moore explains that her work begins by watching, writing words down, and rearranging them to sound just right. While this description may be accurate, children may not understand exactly what it means. The mottled and muted watercolor illustrations lend a soft, nostalgic feel to the book and complement the storys quiet tone. While this title may be helpful to introduce children to the process of poetry and, to a lesser degree, the poet, this tale is too slight and subdued to appeal to a general audience.–Carol L. MacKay, Camrose Public Library, Alberta, Canada
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
K-Gr. 3. A boy spends the day with poet Marianne Moore in this quiet story set in yesteryear Brooklyn. Young Jonathan meets Moore when he returns her distinctive, black tri-cornered hat, blown off by wind at the zoo. She introduces herself as a poet, and as they look at the animals, Jonathan watches with great interest as Marianne writes down her observations of each aniimal. Moore answers Jonathan's questions about what a poet does: her job "begins by watching," and she can work on a single poem for an entire year. Finally, Marianne presents Jonathan with an empty notebook and encourages him to watch and record what he sees. Bryant's spare, simple words read almost like poetry in their attention to sound and rhythm, and Johnson's ink-and-watercolor images, rendered in his signature dusky, sand-blasted palette, reinforce the story's quiet mood while keeping the focus on the language. This may be too subdued and contemplative for story hours, and the images too pale to show to a crowd. But it's a fine choice for sharing with small groups exploring poetry, and it may inspire children to value their observations and write their own lines about what they see. A one-page biography of Moore closes. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved