cover image Secret Places

Secret Places

Charlotte Huck. Greenwillow Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11669-9

George ( Christmas at Long Pond ) contributes an unexpected riot of color in this reflective anthology about what Huck calls the ``joyful places that we love intensely, or places of refuge where we run to hide, or places visited only in our imaginations.'' Almost surrealistic, larger-than-life flowers and insects surround George's multi-ethnic cast of children, while varied perspectives and lighting enhance the unique intimacy of each poem. With few exceptions, Huck has selected favorites from well-known children's poets--A. A. Milne, Rachel Field, Gwendolyn Brooks, David McCord--and included only those verses that would appeal to youngest readers: ``Down among the cobwebs and grasshopper spittle /I can hide and peck around and be glad I am little'' (Nancy Dingman Watson). Poems about hideouts of ``autumn leaves in a pile that high'' (Aileen Fisher), about treasure boxes ``of important things that I'll never show / to anyone, anyone else I know'' (Myra Cohn Livingston), about tents made from blankets and porch chairs, will reassure children seeking a place that may be ``dark and safe'' (Elizabeth Coatsworth) or where they can ``linger alone . . ./ Lost / In a book'' (Karla Kuskin). Ages 4-up. (Sept.)