nicole's Reviews > This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness

This Is Just to Say by Joyce Sidman
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's review
Mar 24, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: picture-books, poetry
Recommended for: Love That Dog / Hate That Cat fans
Read in October, 2009

Initially I picked this up for Pamela Zagarenski's illustration. I'd read "Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors" and loved her subtle use of color. But the illustration is hardly the main attraction here. The collage element is nice, but otherwise the pictures are simple drawings. Zagarenski's style itself doesn't do a lot for me, but in this case it worked nicely, lending believability to the "this book was made by a buncha kids" factor. They do look like children might've drawn them. Illustration aside though, I loved the poems. They were funny, sweet, and a little heartbreaking. I felt a little cheated when I found out they weren't really written by children (which you can tell about two pages in... these would have to be some really smart, poetic children), but a good book is still a good book. Like Sharon Creech, Joyce Sidman's poems, the dialogue she creates not just between the initial poem and the response poem, but through connections in the entire book, get you thinking about much larger relationships, about an entire classroom or a whole family, and about the kind of history these make-believe people must have with each other. And they easily relate to your own life. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone actually wrote back?

One of my favorites, found on page 36, in response to a poem titled "Not Really" wherein Bobby apologies (but not really) for all the mean things he's done to his crush:

To Bobby

What Girls Want

Girls want a lion with a great shaggy mane.
Girls want a horse, fast and sure.
Girls want a coyote that sings with its heart.
Girls wants an eagle, soaring through mountains.
Girls want a breeze that whispers its name.
Girls want a snowfall that makes the world new.
Girls want a dog that wags all over.
Girls want a cat that purrs to the moon.
Girls want a hedgehog that carries its own armor
but doesn't
use it.

Just to let you know.

By Maria.

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