cover image Good Rhymes, Good Times: Original Poems

Good Rhymes, Good Times: Original Poems

Lee Bennett Hopkins. HarperCollins Children's Books, $14.95 (31pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023499-7

This joyous collection of 21 original poems, written between the early '70s and the present, deftly depicts a sense of delight and wonder in everyday experience. Hopkins brings freshness and immediacy to his subjects, whether a loose tooth, the city in the hush of snowfall, or summer fruits (``No matter/ how/ hot-burning/ it/ is/ outside/ when/ you...cut deep/ into/ a/ fresh, ripe watermelon/ coolness/ comes/ into/your/hands''). Lessac's (Caribbean Alphabet) energetic illustrations boldly enhance the text; painted in primary hues, their compelling, naive quality seems both childlike and folkloric. Brush stroke dabs suggest, alternately, raindrops scattering from clouds, sparks from a fire, or blades of grass in a park. While the compositions as a whole are clean and simple, intricate patterns decorate quilts and drapes, plates and packaging. The bright spontaneity of the art pulls the reader into a cheerful city milieu captured throughout the seasons, a world that is matter-of-factly multicultural. An uncluttered layout offers plenty of white space, allowing the luxury of lingering over a page and truly savoring each poem. Ages 4-7. (June)