From School Library Journal
Grade 2–5—These 30 poems by various writers were all written to their subjects, directly addressing "skyscrapers, mosquitoes, and other fun things." Yet, a ballad to the Vietnam Memorial sits between a vacuous bit of verse to a police officer's horse and a longer poem to the moon. On occasion, similar subjects will follow one another. The most interesting of these pairings are two selections to bees, "Straight Talk" by Nikki Grimes, and "Bee, I'm expecting you!" by Emily Dickinson (though the poet's original punctuation has been edited). There are several poems about sea life. Many of the better selections could be used to explore voice, address, looking at things in new ways, tone, and metaphor, but others are uninspired and flat. Norman MacCaig's "Toad" offers one of the collection's most unique poetic voices, as does Bobbi Katz's "Camel Question." Marjorie Maddox writes with zany hyperbole a letter to a mailbox. Rayevsky's watercolors are often gray without reason and rarely lend themselves to enriching readers' experience of the poems. Despite its many excellent elements, this collection is a mixed bag.—Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA
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In poetry, the term apostrophe means a direct address to an inanimate thing, an animal, or an abstract concept. That's what the poems in this lively anthology do, and the familiar poets' subjects range from dust mites to the universe's black holes. Many selections are light, rhyming verse, often grouped loosely by subject: Ogden Nash's "The Octopus" appears opposite Douglas Florian's "The Sea Horse," for example. Others pick humorous arguments with their subjects: "Look, Bee. / Fair is fair. / I don't burst into your honeycomb," writes Nikki Grimes in "Straight Talk." Rayevsky's mixed-media illustrations, composed of digitally manipulated collage-and-inked drawings, include some dot-eyed cartoon figures that distract from the somber tone in a few selections, such as Rebecca Kai Dotlich's "Whispers to the Wall," addressed to the Vietnam Memorial. On many spreads, though, the artwork creates an interesting, textured counterpart to the words. Poems based on apostrophe lend themselves easily to popular, kid-friendly writing exercises, and teachers will appreciate the range of styles represented here. Gillian Engberg
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