cover image Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

James Stevenson. Greenwillow Books, $15 (63pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12647-6

Snappy graphic design contributes almost as much as Stevenson's loose, minimal watercolor and black-pen drawings in establishing the festive look of this diverse collection of 62 short poems. The text of ``Clothesline Vacation,'' for example, ripples across the page like the ``flapping, snapping'' clothes it describes. ``Roadside Stand'' asks, in balloon lettering, ``WHY AM I HAPPY/ THAT I WAS BORN?/ JUST ONE REASON (IN SEASON)''; the answer appears in huge creamy letters on the opposing page: ``SWEET CORN!'' A selection of different typefaces helps vary the mood throughout. By turns clever, pensive or silly, the verses read like prose and rely mainly on analogies or unusual points of view for effect. ``The Bridge'' ponders ``young and old people'' seen ``leaning over the railings,/ Clutching thin strings/ That go down to the water'': ``Maybe they're fishing.... Maybe they're flying their kites/ Upside down.'' Spirited and kid-pleasing. Ages 8-up. (Apr.)