The Animals: Selected Poems

Michio Mado, Author, Empress Michiko of Japan, Translator, Mitsumasa Anno, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $16.95 (47p) ISBN 978-0-689-50574-4
This stylish volume, printed in both Japanese and English on facing pages, is an outstanding contribution to the growing number of books that introduce American readers to other cultures. Mado, the foremost contemporary poet writing for children in Japan, offers verses that are delicate, thoughtful and quiet--small gems that reflect the poet's intense affinity for nature. Butterfies ``fold themselves / In half / Modestly,'' and the swan ``stands out clearly / As if some sort of joy'' made it ``especially visible.'' Equally spare and understated, Anno's artwork--by repeating a single border of entwining animal shapes rather than illustrating individual poems--invites the reader to focus on the words themselves. The milk-white paper cuts on beige pages sustain a tone of classic simplicity which is echoed in the poems. Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Anno and the Empress of Japan, a poet in her own right, have made Mado's pensive poems for children easily approachable for a wider audience. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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