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Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings

by Florian, Douglas


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780152053727]

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Starred Review. Gr 1–5—Nothing gladdens the heart of believers in good poetry for children more than a new collection by Florian, whose verses and paintings consistently capture the essence of his featured themes. This one literally sings the music of the spheres. Twenty playfully lyrical poems treat topics such as the universe, the individual planets, constellations, and black holes. Each selection is presented on its own spread and adorned with a magical painting done in gouache, collage, and rubber stamps on brown paper. Circles abound in the artwork, and many pages have round cut-outs that lead into the next picture. For example, "the earth" ("Two-thirds water./One-third land./Valleys deep./Mountains grand") is illustrated with a colorful globe decorated with circled collage prints of animals and plants. A smaller orb appears nearby, made from a cut-out circle that reveals part of the illustration for the next selection, "the moon." Some of the paintings incorporate mythological names and images. The pleasing blend of faded shades and brilliant colors, of old-fashioned prints and fanciful sketches, makes the illustrations seem both antique and high-tech. An appended "Galactic Glossary" provides additional information. In both language and artwork, Florian strikes the perfect balance between grandeur and whimsy. Like Myra Cohn Livingston and Leonard Everett Fisher's Space Songs (Holiday House, 1988; o.p.), this book is a work of art worthy of the vastness of its subject.—Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME

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