Hey, you! Poems to skyscrapers, mosquitoes, and other fun things

Book - 2007

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room j808.81/Janeczko Checked In
New York : HarperCollins c2007.
Other Authors
Paul B. Janeczko (-), Robert Rayevskey (illustrator)
1st ed
Item Description
A companion book to Dirty Laundry Pile: Poems in Different Voices.
Physical Description
40 p. : ill
  • Invocation / Geroge Ella Lyon
  • A mote of dust / X. J. Kennedy
  • Sneakers / Joan Bransfield Graham
  • To an astronaut
  • Beverly McLoughland
  • Lovely mosquito / Doug MacLeod
  • Mosquito mosquito / John Agard
  • Little Blanco River
  • Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Toad / Norman MacCaig
  • Camel question / Bobbi Katz
  • Old farm in Northern Michigan / Gary Gildner
  • To a maggot in an apple / Richard Edwards
  • Light / Joan Bransfield Graham
  • Soft-boiled / Russell Hoban
  • Warning to a fork / Marjorie Maddox
  • Buffalo / Penny Harter
  • Bison / Kristine O'Connell Geroge
  • To a snowflake / X. J. Kennedy
  • Hat hair / Joan Bransfield Graham
  • Letter poem to a mailbox / Marjorie Maddox
  • Bee, I'm expecting you! / Emily Dickinson
  • Straight talk / Nikki Grimes
  • Dear shell: / Karla Kuskin
  • Conch shell / Beverly McLoughland
  • The octopus / Ogden Nash
  • The sea horse / Douglas Florian
  • Skyscraper / Dennis Lee
  • What are you doing? / Charles Reznikoff
  • Whispers to the wall / Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  • Hello, moon! / Patricia Hubbell
  • Hello, black hole / J. Patrick Lewis.
Review by New York Times Review

A master of haiku, Issa (born in 1763) wasn't blessed with an "easy or happy" life, according to the artist's note at the beginning of this affecting picture book. Karas chose 16 of Issa's plain-spoken poems and arranged them by season. "Once snows have melted, / the village soon overflows / with friendly children" reads the first. "Here / I'm here - / the snow falling" reads one of the last. The pictures, in muted tones, may work too hard to supply a story - images of a hospital and a graveyard tell us the stooped grandfather from the early pages has passed on - but on the whole they complement the haunting simplicity of Issa's art. A debut that brings a much-needed twist to the mystery/fantasy genre with its wisecracking detective hero, who happens to be a living skeleton (well, not technically living, he admits). A regular Sam Spade, Skulduggery can trade punches with vampires, Cleavers and Faceless Ones while keeping up the banter with his human partner, the "darkly talented" Stephanie, whose legacy from a late uncle includes a fortune and otherworldly beings trying to kill her. It's a little hard to buy 12-year-old Stephanie's survival in the face of fangs, oozing tentacles and plain old guns. Still, the author just may have invented a new genre: the screwball fantasy. The dynamic design of this picture book complements the over-the-top creativity of its unnamed protagonist. The "17 things" she is not allowed to do - including stapling her brother's hair to his pillow, writing about a beaver for a class project instead of George Washington and showing "Joey Whipple my underpants" - are rendered in energetic pen-and-ink and digital images: young readers will enjoy noticing that the background to the Joey Whipple spread is a rainbow assortment of pastel panties. In colorful mixed media collage, Lee (who was born in Seoul but now lives in Houston) presents a fanciful visit to a psychedelic zoo where a monkey perches on a smiling hippo and a peacock sports a tail of vivid purple pastel. Unfortunately Mom and Dad are thrown into a panic when their young daughter, in pink cape and boots, wanders after the peacock, imagining herself playing with a bear in a flamingo pool. Clearly it's all in the eye of the beholder. At the end, the girl's "I love the zoo. It's very exciting" is comically set against Mom and Dad looking chalkwhite with fatigue. Lee's view of the parents is almost depressing - when they're not panicking, they look bored literally to death - but the gorgeous menagerie that bursts out at the end restores the child's-eye point of view. A favorite writing exercise here becomes an enjoyable anthology of whimsical poems on every imaginable subject - snowflakes, softboiled eggs, bees, "hat hair." With the exception of Ogden Nash ("Tell me, O Octopus, I begs, / Is those things arms, or is they legs?"), the usual celebrities of American poetry are absent, leaving room for newer pleasures. "Dear shell: / You curve extremely well. / And when I put you to my curving ear / and hear a whispered wind / far off / I cannot tell but it might be the sea," Karla Kuskin writes in "Dear Shell." Keeping in mind her audience, she adds, "Dear shell: / You also smell." JULIE JUST

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [October 27, 2009]
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

(Primary, Intermediate) Janeczko observes in an opening note, ""There is lots of room for imagination when a poet writes to a thing,"" and thus the poems here are addressed to a mote of dust, a mosquito, an astronaut, and even a maggot in an apple. The collection includes a few classic poems such as Dennis Lee's ""Skyscraper"" (""Skyscraper, skyscraper, / Scrape me some sky"") and those by well-known poets including Emily Dickinson and X. J. Kennedy. Most of the poems, though, are new and fresh, by modern poets such as Naomi Shihab Nye, Douglas Florian, and Kristine O'Connell George. The poems range widely in tone from the frivolous (Marjorie Maddox's ""Warning to a Fork"") to the heartfelt (Rebecca Kai Dotlich's ""Whispers to the Wall""), and the book flows beautifully from subject to subject, often pairing similarly themed poems on facing pages. Rayevsky's brush-inked and watercolor illustrations add visual appeal and gentle humor without overwhelming the words. Surprising and inspiring. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.