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Nelson, Jenny G.
Illustrated by Herb Larsen Toronto, Gage Educational Publishing, 1992. 32pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 0-7715-6952-1. (Dancing Sun Books). CIP

Kindergarten to Grades 6/Ages 5 to 11

Reviewed by Patricia Fry

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

Jenny Nelson, who lives in the Queen Charlotte Islands, has written eighteen poems beautifully illustrated by native artist Herb Larsen. Every poem has its own colourful interpretation by Larsen, who has achieved international recognition for his drawings, paintings, engravings and lithographs.

The poetry concentrates on topics from the author's everyday life: picking mushrooms and baking bread to whimsical ditties on flying and fleas. The book is dedicated to Nelson's two sons and I suspect poems were written to be read aloud to pre-school children. They feature simple rhymes and most poems are quite short.

In "Making Bread," the last line of each couplet imitates the sound of the action. For example, after the couplet on kneading the dough, the last line is "turnandpush, squishandmush."

My favourite poem was "Sunset," because I liked the strong descriptors used to evoke the fiery red of the setting sun, followed by the slipping images used to describe the transition to purple afterglow.

The concrete topics of the poems combined with the outstanding illustrations would enhance the language arts curriculum at the Primary level. There would be limited use as well at the Junior level.

Patricia Fry is a teacher-librarian with the Peel Board of Education in Mississauga, Ontario.

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