cover image Plane Song

Plane Song

Diane Siebert. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021464-7

Like Train Song and Truck Song , Siebert's third book about machines is lavishly illustrated. Nasta, a licensed pilot, offers dramatic, meticulously researched oil paintings, almost photographic in their sweeping views of cloud-filled skies and verdant countrysides. But, despite the excellence of her previous titles, Siebert's description of the ``birds that human hands have built'' seems less a poetic celebration of flight than an encyclopedic list of various kinds of planes: ``chase planes / pace planes / escorting outer-space planes / high planes / sly planes / picture-taking spy planes.'' Alternating between couplets and unrhymed lines, and possessing an unrelentingly strong beat regardless of the changing meter, the poem focuses on factual information about aircraft. It does not impart the sense of the excitement and admiration mentioned at the end of the book for the ``airplanes flying / way up there!'' and ``all those who spread their wings in flight.'' Slick as an ad in an airline magazine, the book will probably be attractive nonetheless to children fascinated with planes. Ages 4-8. (May)