cover image SUMMERSAULTS


Douglas Florian, . . HarperCollins/ Greenwillow, $15.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-06-029267-6

From the playful initial poems—"What I Love About Summer" and "What I Hate About Summer"—to the final contemplation of a future snowy day, Florian's companion volume to Winter Eyes overflows with inventive verses celebrating the delights and discontents of summer. Like chalk drawings on a hot sidewalk, the green and sunny watercolor-and-pencil illustrations capture "The Sum of Summer" including "four fillion flies/ And five sillion fleas/ And uncounted numbers/ Of sweet memories," and concrete poems such as "Summersaults" and "Double Dutch Girls" cleverly mirror their subject matter. Florian's child-like paintings show ordinary pleasures, like skateboarding and eating watermelon, as well as more fanciful images of a girl swinging to the stars or being carried away by a giant mosquito. Florian's poems are often simple, rhythmic lists with an ending twist, as in "Greenager": "Green grass./ Green trees./ Grasshoppers/ With green knees/ ... / Summer's green/ Wall to wall." Occasionally the poet's couplets scramble syntax ("As mosquitos buzz your ear,/ Green cicadas you may hear") or his images strain to fit the rhyme more than the meaning ("The dande-lion doesn't roar./ It's quiet as a closet door"). Over all, however, the poems are rhythmic, imaginative and packed like a cottage trunk with the long beach days and campfire nights of summer. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)