cover image The Book of Giving: Poems of Thanks, Praise and Celebration

The Book of Giving: Poems of Thanks, Praise and Celebration

Kay Chorao. Dutton Books, $17.99 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45409-0

Gentle and sweet, sentimental without being cloying, this wholesome collection of poems is by far the most varied and sophisticated of Chorao's anthologies (The Baby's Bedtime Book; The Baby's Story Book). The selection of poems represents a wide range of cultures, nationalities and religions. An excerpt from James Weldon Johnson's The Creation is paired with a touching Dakota prairie hymn; a loving portrait of a grandmother combing her granddaughter's hair is next to an illustration of a son helping his aged mother walk. Created ``in hopes of encouraging children to think about giving,'' the book's theme is defined broadly enough to include not just the giving of presents but the giving of ``time, care, advice, joy, thanks, and above all, love.'' Many poems focus on the gifts the earth bestows on humans; throughout, Chorao's reverence for life is evident, from the dimpled infants at the beginning of the book to the birds, animals, flowers and insects sprinkled liberally throughout her detailed, characteristically delicate illustrations. While many of the poems included are religious, they are neither denominational nor doctrinaire. Readers looking for a celebration of life-affirming moments will find this a sunny treasure. All ages. (Nov.)