cover image The Sky is Always in the Sky

The Sky is Always in the Sky

Karla Kuskin, Karla Kushkin. Laura Geringer Book, $14.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027083-4

Set upon blocks of color, not unlike her Roar and More, these 36 poems are culled from Kuskin's previously published works. The poet's devotion to words, her intelligence and wit shine through all of the verses. The innocence and brevity of many of the poems will sit comfortably in the mouths of preschoolers ("" `Cow' sounds heavy./ Cow/ standing in the meadow/ chewing./ A big fur box on legs/ mooing"") and are well met by artist Dervaux's (Melanie Jane) crayon-bright colors, and simple black line and figures, which belie her sophisticated sense of composition. Writer and artist are as adept at conveying more complex ideas as they are simpler ones. Much of Kuskin's selections here get at a kind of sophisticated joviality and impertinence that slightly older readers, seven- and eight-year-olds, will likely devour (""One jay/ two jay/ kitty got a blue jay./ Three jay/ four jay/ there isn't any more/ jay""), and Dervaux portrays Kuskin's multilayered ideas with equal ease; the French artist's work has a European sensibility, at times recalling Bemelmans or De Brunhoff. Adults reading to preschoolers may wish to skip a string of tongue-in-cheek poems about animal casualties, but will find plenty of others for which youngsters may well plead to repeat. A treat for the eyes as well as the ears. Ages 3-7. (May)