Friday, December 21, 2012

Poetry Friday - A review of Book Speak!

I have reviewed several books of poetry that are full of poems about books and reading. Today's poetry title is special because in it the author gives books (and not people) the opportunity to speak. Instead of reading about how people feel about books, we get to find out what it feels like to be a book. Or an index. Or a book cover. The idea might sound strange, but I found it to be delightful, and I think you will too.

Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrated by Josee Bisaillon
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 7 to 11
Clarion, 2011, 978-0-547-22300-1
If a book could talk, what would it say? Perhaps it would ask the reader not to fold page corners and to be careful not to break its spine. Maybe it would describe, in an excited whisper, the story that lies on its pages.  It might brag, loudly, that it is the best book to read if you want to know about a certain subject.
   In this deliciously clever collection of poems, Laura Purdie Salas gives books, and parts of books, a voice. We hear from an index, who tells us to “Forget that pretty picture on the cover.” Instead, it tells us how it, the index, “can tell you the page number / of anything you are looking for.”
   A book plate explains very firmly that it is not the kind of plate that requires a napkin. It is not a “soup bowl’s mate,” nor is it a receptacle for “peas or bread.” No, a book plate should be pasted in a book and used to show who it belongs to.
   A book is a very brave thing, just in case you didn’t know. Yes indeed, it can “swallow up dragons and /cannons and /wars.” It does not fear the dark at all. There is only one thing that it is really frightened of. Water. Water and books simply don’t mix.
   Vacations offer books the opportunity to have grand adventures. You get to visit exotic places, fly on airplanes, and lie on beaches. A book never quite knows where its “reader is bound / and hundreds of times I’ve been lost and then found.”
   Though this is, of course, a children’s title, book lovers of all ages are going to enjoy reading these skillfully crafted and often unusual book-centric poems. Throughout the book, colorful multimedia illustrations provide a perfect backdrop for the poems.

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