cover image A MAZE ME: Poems for Girls

A MAZE ME: Poems for Girls

Naomi Shihab Nye, , illus. by Terre Maher. . HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99 (118pp) ISBN 978-0-06-058189-3

Nye's (Going Going , reviewed above) sprawling collection of more than 70 poems run the gamut from capturing a moment to probing more abstract ideas—and many seem right for a wider audience than just females. The best poems take a detailed image and expose its wider application to daily life. For instance, in "Rose," a spider and her delicate web offer a lesson in the beauty that results from measured, persistent care. "Big Head, Big Face" boasts the merits of simplicity by contrasting a small drawer with a big drawer. Several poems on vocabulary grow awkwardly abstract. "The Word Peace " takes a common school exercise (making many small words from the letters in one long word) and distorts the idea just enough to be confusing ("Peace for example contained the crucial vowels of/ Eat and Easy . If people Ate together/ they would be less likely to Kill one another"). But there's plenty of humor here in contemplating language, too. Take the poem "You're Welcome!" ("People who say 'No problem'/ instead of 'You're welcome'/ have a problem they don't even/ know about") or a baby-sitter's claim that "Baby-sitting should not be called/ sitting. Because it is chasing, bending,/ picking up, and major play." Maher's attractive illustrations open each section. Despite a few uneven selections, Nye's talent is ever in evidence, especially with a trio of Wallace Stevens–style meditations on a "Little Chair" and lines such as this one in "Over the Weather": "Creamy miles of quiet/ Giant swoop of blue." Ages 12-up. (Mar.)