cover image IN THE LAND OF WORDS: New and Selected Poems

IN THE LAND OF WORDS: New and Selected Poems

Eloise Greenfield, , illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. . HarperCollins, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-06-028993-5

Longtime collaborators Greenfield and Gilchrist (Nathaniel Talking ) present a snappy mix of new and old poems that collectively sing the praises of the written word. In the book's first section, Greenfield shares her inspirations for selections such as "Way Down in the Music" ("There are times when I feel as if I'm down inside the music, it's swirling over my head and all around me "). "Down in the bass where the beat comes from/ Down in the horn and down in the drum/ I get down/ I get down," she writes, as Gilchrist, who debuts a new approach that incorporates sewn fabric collage, shows the boy speaker floating on a wave of sound that emanates from a music staff. Verses in the second half extol the virtues of words in all their variety, from stories and tongue twisters to riddles and poems. In the new "Poet/Poem," Greenfield inventively sets up a dialogue between the two. "Poet: Where are you, words,/ the ones that will fit/ the thoughts I am thinking,/ as here I sit?/ Poem: Hiding, I'm hiding,/ I let you see/ only the smallest/ part of me./ If you want to see more,/ you'll have to go deep/ into the forest/ where I sleep." Here Gilchrist depicts an enchanting girl poet, her thoughtful expression and posture drawn on felt, a crown of curls created from embroidery thread, and a dress of flower-patterned fabric. Unconventional punctuation, metaphor and colorful, enlarged typeface abound, effectively inviting budding readers and writers to share in a love of language. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)