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Visiting Langston Paperback – August 11, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Perdomo (Where a Nickel Costs a Dime) captures the excitement of an African-American girl anticipating a visit to the Harlem brownstone of Langston Hughes. The narrator, an aspiring writer, expresses her enthusiasm from the opening lines: "Today I'm going to wear/ My favorite pink blouse/ I'm going with my daddy/ To visit Langston's house." Throughout, Collier's (Uptown) heady blend of watercolor and mixed media collage evokes the history of the writer's life and times. In the opening spread, a black-and-white painting depicting Jazz Era scenes hangs on the wall as the girl sits smiling on a couch, clutching a notebook and pen. In a kind of meditation on the poet, subsequent spreads incorporate elements of that painting, which hangs in the girl's living room: for instance, bass players and a pianist inhabit the space behind Langston at his typewriter ("Langston/ Langston/ Langston Hughes/ Wrote poems/ Like jazz"). Collier then shows the girl kneeling to read the paper in Hughes's typewriter. In the end, Perdomo adds a twist: the girl and her father stand before the doors of Langston's house and the opening lines repeat; she sits on the couch in the next spread but, this time, her notebook is open. "Langston/ Langston," says the girl. "I write poetry/ Just like Langston Hughes." Is she writing about the trip she just made? Or is she imagining the visit to come? An opening note provides a brief biographical sketch. An inspired and inspiring introduction to the legendary writer. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)February 1. This and two other titles commemorate his life and work: Love to Langston by Tony Medina, illus. by R. Gregory Christie (Lee & Low, reviewed Dec. 17, 2001) and Langston Hughes: American Poet by Alice Walker, illus. by Catherine Deeter (HarperCollins/Amistad, reviewed Nov. 19, 2001).
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Grades 2-4--A rhythmic poem in praise of Langston Hughes and the writer's craft. The poem is presented by a young girl who is off to visit Hughes's Harlem home with her father. It begins, "Today I'm going to wear/My favorite pink blouse/I'm going with my daddy/To visit Langston's house." Readers quickly learn that, like Hughes, the girl is a writer and resident of Harlem. Powerful in its simplicity, the text explores the child's special connection to the famous man. "He can tell you why my/Dreams run wild/Why Daddy says I'm like/Langston's genius child." Text and illustrations complement one another perfectly as the pages of the book come to life with energetic purpose and delight. Done with a mixture of collage and watercolor with dramatic results, Collier's artwork uses muted shades of green, purple, and brown and yet shines with brilliant bits of patterns and textures. While this is obviously an urban landscape, the girl's enthusiasm and talent have universal appeal. Be sure to use this impressive collaboration to introduce young readers to the life and work of the poet (a brief author's note with some dates and titles is included) but be sure it reaches young writers as well.
Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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Short, upbeat - suitable for older children learning poetry or about black history, and for younger children as well. Even a very small child should be able to sit through and understand this one.
This book is a treasure to share with our children of all ethnicities, to begin dialogues with them which will nourish them and their fellows and their children and so forth through gardens and offices and libraries and schools and temples and homes.