This is the type of book I would want to take more time to savor than I currently have available, especially to read the poetry aloud. I was impressedThis is the type of book I would want to take more time to savor than I currently have available, especially to read the poetry aloud. I was impressed by how Powell incorporated quotes and biographical facts into the poetry without breaking the feel of the form. Robinson's illustrations are all about the angles and the bright, saturated colors - especially that sunshiney yellow that pops off the page. The whole thing makes me want to seek out some of Josephine's recordings to see her in action myself....more
I am in awe of Melissa Sweet's talent. Every book I read lately that she has illustrated just blows me away. Here in Firefly July, there's fewer foundI am in awe of Melissa Sweet's talent. Every book I read lately that she has illustrated just blows me away. Here in Firefly July, there's fewer found objects than in something like Balloons Over Broadway, which means there's slightly less texture, but that doesn't make the illustrations any less amazing. Sweet takes these very short poems that Janeczko has selected and extends their meanings through her illustrations in watercolor, mixed media and gouache. Almost every page had some bit that surprised me upon looking closer, but some of my favorites were "Firefly July" - where it took me some time to recognize the jar that holds the nighttime image, Carl Sangburg's "Fog" - where I laughed in delight when i recognized that the fog was in a cat shape, and "A Happy Meeting" - where I could practically hear those striped boots squelching in the mud. This is a simply brilliant collection and I could spend hours pointing out the details and reading the poems aloud - I can't wait to give this as a gift to some of my favorite children and I hope it scoops up bunches of awards. Also, I want that "In the Field Forever" illustration to hang in my house, but suspect it's far out of my price range! Perhaps a print someday....more
I liked this fine, but poetry is a difficult thing for me. I'm much pickier about my poetry than I am about my prose and this didn't capture me the waI liked this fine, but poetry is a difficult thing for me. I'm much pickier about my poetry than I am about my prose and this didn't capture me the way some of my favorite poetry does. I found the spacing on the page to be difficult to contend with in general although for a few poems I thought it worked really well. Christie's acrylic illustrations burst with color (the spread on pages 32 and 33 is a gorgeous example of this) and look somehow collaged in places. Distinct brushstrokes provide periodic texture. I don't know the correct art term for the style of the figures - they're not really quite what I think of as abstract or impressionistic, but are maybe some sort of combination of the two? The whole style of the book is just not my thing (although I like the illustrations better than the poetry), but I can see curricular uses for it and how there might be others it would appeal to more. Glad I read it so I know it's out there, but I'm likely to come back to it unless a patron needs something like this....more
This is another hard one for me to review as it is so emphatically not my thing. The art isn't a style that appeals to me, but I think it's a good fitThis is another hard one for me to review as it is so emphatically not my thing. The art isn't a style that appeals to me, but I think it's a good fit that complements the text. Greenfield's poems give you a sense of what those involved in the Great Migration might have felt and thought, but I didn't connect to them emotionally (which probably says more about me as a reader than the book). The supplemental materials are very good and consist of a bibliography and an opening author's note describing what the Great Migration was and how her family was part of this piece of history. I could see this being a great classroom supplement, but I'm not sure I remember studying this part of history at all and with all the testing now required wonder if current classes get to it either. I also think this has a good shot at one or both of the Coretta Scott King awards....more
Stefano Vitale's illustrations are simply gorgeous, bursting with vibrant, deep colors. I have no idea what the medium used is; it's not something I cStefano Vitale's illustrations are simply gorgeous, bursting with vibrant, deep colors. I have no idea what the medium used is; it's not something I can identify, but it has grains running through it that add texture. The poetry is very simple with each two-page spread only having six lines or less. It's not clear whether these are intended to be seperate poems or one long poem, but each poem or stanza has the same basic structure. This could be used as a writing prompt to encourage students to construct their own similar poems. ...more
Dust. It’s 1934 in Oklahoma and dust is everywhere. Billie Jo can’t escape it. Dust is out in the fields killing the crops. Dust is in the house coverDust. It’s 1934 in Oklahoma and dust is everywhere. Billie Jo can’t escape it. Dust is out in the fields killing the crops. Dust is in the house covering the floors, covering the table, covering the piano. Dust is in the food; regular milk looks like chocolate milk, everything seems to have pepper on it, but it’s not pepper, it’s dust. And ever since the accident that took so much away from Billie Jo, the dust is inside her too. All she wants is out. Out of the dust. Maybe the poems that she writes will help, but how can you escape something inside you? Using free-verse poetry, Karen Hesse tells the unforgettable story of two years in Billie Jo’s life and how she finds her way out of the dust.
This was the June 2009 selection for my 3rd-5th grade book club and while the kids enjoyed it, most of them didn't understand any of the nuances. I think they're just not ready yet for seeing the layers underneath what's said - they're still very literal taking what's on the page at its word. I think 5th grade is probably the youngest this should go in general now that I've read it. Hesse's depiction of Billie Jo's troubles is powerful and moving, but I always struggle with the poetic form for narrative stories. Perhaps if I had the time to read them aloud it would be different.