Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Poetry Friday with a review of Outside the box: A book of poems

I didn't use to consider myself to be an outside the box kind of person. Actually, I thought I was a little boring. Then, recently I started trying new things, like learning to play the ukulele, things that other people thought were "out there" and "cool." Then I began to think about the work that I have created for myself I came to appreciate that I have always been an outside the box person. I just didn't know it.

Recently I came across a book that was written by a favorite author of mine, Karma Wilson. Karma is definitely an outside the box kind of person, and in today's poetry title you will encounter some of her interesting and quirky poems.

Outside the box: A book of poems
Outside the BoxKarma Wilson
Illustrated by Diane Goode
For ages 7 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2014, 978-1-4169-8005-6
From the outside, a big box can look quite appealing. One might think that the dark, cozy interior would serve as a splendid “thinking spot.” It is only when one is inside the box that one realizes that the inside of a box - where one does not experience sounds, sights, light, colors, and the beauty of the outdoors - does not provide an environment that encourages thoughts or creativity. It is only when we are outside the box that thoughts, ideas, images, and stories start to flow.
   In this collection of poems author and poet Karma Wilson lets her imagination roam where it will. She truly thinks outside the box, and as a result we are gifted with a colorful, delightful, often funny, and always interesting collection of poems.
   Soon after we begin our journey through the book we meet a child who has been told to write a poem about a tragedy. Not being able to come up “a single line or verse” the child decides to write a tragic poem about how the child “couldn’t write a poem / about a tragedy.”
   Later on in the book we meet the “Boogie Man.” Now everyone knows that the boogie man is a terrifying and dangerous creature or apparition. He is someone who should be avoided at all costs. Or maybe not. He might terrify you and make you dive under the covers, but the little girl in this poem is friends with the boogie man, and they “boogie every night.”
   Then there is the story of the moose that got on a bus, which not surprisingly caused “quite a fuss.” When the animal boarded the bus, the passengers “screamed for police,” but the police were not around. What surprises the narrator of this story is that the moose, who came to sit next to her (or him) was “kind” and made for “polite company.” So all in all the moose was pleasant to be with, except that he was a bit too tall and his antlers were “rather too wide” for an average bus.

   Readers who like poetry are going to love exploring this book. The poems come all shapes and sizes, and one never quite knows what one is going to find on the next page. The poems are paired with Diane Goode’s expressive pen and ink drawings, and together they give readers a memorable book experience.

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