cover image Come with Me: Poems for a Journey

Come with Me: Poems for a Journey

Naomi Shihab Nye. Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15946-7

Nye (editor of Salting the Ocean) challenges readers with a range of her own poems, linked thematically as an investigation of journeys to inner spaces as well as literal journeys to real and imagined places. In ""Mad,"" a girl flies to the moon to escape her mother, but when it gets cold at night, slides down the silver thread her mother sends up because ""She knows me so well./ She knows I like silver."" An airplane pilot in ""Full Day"" says, ""In one minute and fifty seconds/ we're going as far/ as the covered wagon went/ in a full day,"" and the poet further contrasts the experiences of modern travelers and pioneers. Yaccarino's (Circle Dogs) imaginative, abstracted mixed-media collages tend to distance the audience from the emotions or characters presented in the poems, but wisely leave readers free to interpret Nye's meanings for themselves. Both the poems and the illustrations vary widely in their accessibility. The title poem, for example, lauds the ""quiet minute between two noisy minutes/ It's always waiting ready to welcome us/ Tucked under the wing of the day."" The more abstruse ""Envelope"" begins, ""The sky sends a letter to the ground."" Chock-full of unexpected images, the poems are occasionally marred by cryptic or portentous metaphors (e.g., ""Are you hooked to the slightest movement/ of a girl by the Arctic Sea?""). On balance, however, the journey through this volume is a rewarding one. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)