cover image Ten-Second Rainshowers: Poems by Young People

Ten-Second Rainshowers: Poems by Young People

Sanford Lyne. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16 (124pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80113-6

Lyne, who claims to have taught poetry-writing to more than 27,000 youths in his work as a visiting poet, presents poems by 130 students, grades three through 12. Introducing each of seven sections are a pair of vivid oil paintings that illustrate the theme; e.g., preceding ""Black and Blue: Poems About Challenges"" is a painting of a child holding a yellow ball of light generated by fireflies while a second painting features a blue-faced child encased in casket-like snow and falling leaves, his thin hands clutching a broken paper heart. Of the poems, much is prosaic and cliche-driven (""That cute boy is driving me crazy/ he is so cute"" or ""Children are like/ Precious flowers/ That break if you/ Don't treat them right""). Some poems include an occasional image (a teacher ""yells like a red dragon,"" another ""looks like a book""); others are obscure (""Every day I think about/ the god and the weeds/ outside and sometimes/ I hold my doll""). While some of the young poets express themselves distinctively, most have not yet learned how to use the tools of the craft. As proud of their work as the students and their parents might be, the book is little more than a grandly produced version of the classroom ""publications"" of teachers across the country. Ages 8-up. (June)