A Stick Is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play

Marilyn Singer, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Clarion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-547-12493-3

On a hot summer day, children revel in the joys of free outdoor play, with no computer screens or electrical outlets in sight. One poem echoes the rhythm of a jump rope (“In the town/ town/ town/ there are noises all around”), while a girl in a park sees the world turned on its head as she dangles from the monkey bars: “Upside-down houses/ with upside-down stoops./ Upside-down players/ at upside-down hoops.” In a palette dominated by pale yellows, bright greens and blues, and sunset purples, Pham’s grainy mixed-media scenes could take place anytime in the past 50 years, emphasizing the timeless (some might say lost) art of outdoor activity. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick and Pratt Agency. (Feb.)