cover image The Great Frog Race and Other Poems

The Great Frog Race and Other Poems

Kristine O'Connell George. Clarion Books, $16 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-395-77607-0

This first collection of poems by George is a loving appreciation of some of the countryside's greatest treasures (a ""falling star that won't go to bed"" and ""hides in the daisies""; a weeping willow that ""wept piles of tears for me to rake"") and a celebration of a child's view of the world (eyes that see chubby commas when they come upon polliwogs). George's images are quiet but startling in their simple beauty (""The porch light shines on rain/ taking thin silken stitches/ with strands of wet thread./ I run outside to the rain/ to see what it is sewing""). For this poet, inanimate objects are equally miraculous and become trusted friends for their users, like a metal bucket that ""stays with its family/ for life."" George adds variety to the collection with poems about language and an encouraging one for lovers of song who tend to be off-key. Kiesler's (Into the Deep Forest with Henry David Thoreau) paintings are equally strong, realistically depicting the awe on children's faces as they come upon tadpoles or witness a moonlit frog race. Her warm palette of earth tones and the soft, feathery texture achieved by her thick brush strokes all add to the comfortable and comforting mood. All around, an invitation to experience joy and wonder. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)