cover image Talking Like the Rain: A Read-To-Me Book of Poems

Talking Like the Rain: A Read-To-Me Book of Poems

Jane Dyer, X. J. Kennedy. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $21.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-316-48889-1

In both content and design this is an unusually striking anthology. The title, from Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa (``Speak again. Speak like rain''), provides a selection basis for the more than 120 poems, handily grouped in such sections as ``Wind and Weather'' and ``Just for Fun.'' Many of the verses are well-known in the canon of children's literature--Hilaire Belloc's ``The Early Morning''; Edward Lear's ``The Owl and the Pussy-Cat''--but there are intriguing additions. Wallace Stevens's ``John Smith and His Son, John Smith,'' for example, delights with its vigorous rhythm ``Voila la vie, la vie, la vie, / And-a-rummy-tummy-tum / And-a-rummy-tummy-tum.''Dyer's vibrantly colored, splendidly detailed illustrations, some of this gifted artist's finest work, pick up elements from well-known art associated with children's poetry, a device that imparts a soothing quality to these captivating pages. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)