cover image Gypsy Bird Song

Gypsy Bird Song

Susan L. Roth. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-374-32825-2

An unsuccessful hybrid of information and story, this long poem about a day in the life of a gypsy child reads like a series of untitled and disparate verses explaining gypsy life. The subject matter changes from page to page without transition, and the style and sound of the text vary from the rhythmic and onomatopoeic section about the gypsy father's tinkering (``bink bink / rattle rattle / plink plink / tattle tattle'') to the proselike story about bargaining ``like a gypsy.'' Caveats aside, Roth's ( We'll Ride Elephants Through Brooklyn ) language is fresh and musical, and the Matisse-like illustrations are lighthearted and full of verve. Bright, almost tropical hues dominate pages filled with ``a thousand colors, a kaleidoscope'' of images--pots and pans, scarves, green herbs, embroidered clothing. The ebullient Gypsy Bird of the title--with his rickrack feathers and legs--dances cheerily on each double-page spread. Ages 6-up. (Oct.)