cover image I Like Old Clothes

I Like Old Clothes

Mary Ann Hoberman, illus. by Patrice Barton. Knopf, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-375-86951-8

“I like old clothes,/ Hand-me-down clothes,/ Worn outgrown clothes,/ Not my own clothes.” Former U.S. children’s poet laureate Hoberman’s poem, first published in 1976, holds up nicely; families are still trading bags of too-small clothes, and children are still enjoying hand-me-downs (“And party dresses/ Not quite new,/ Not quite in style,/ I like them, too”). Barton’s (Mine!) spreads couldn’t be any warmer or fuzzier. Her mixed-media scenes incorporate images of patterned fabrics for the clothes, and soft pencil lines and blurry edges give the artwork a painted feel. A girl in overalls and sneakers—just the sort of girl one might imagine having a sensible attitude toward secondhand apparel—is pictured in her room with her younger brother, trying on a small marching band uniform (first spotted in a store window on the title page) and vamping in a pair of long black gloves. The poem stays in one register, exploring the theme from several angles, without any real narrative arc; it’s written more just for the joy of the rhymes and the rhythm. Ages 5–8. Agent: Christina A. Tugeau, CATugeau. (Aug.)