cover image School Supplies: A Book of Poems

School Supplies: A Book of Poems

Lee Bennett Hopkins. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $17 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80497-7

Inveterate anthologist Hopkins (Side by Side: Poems to Read Together) begins one of his best collections with a verse of his own about a ""freshly-painted-yellow/ school bus"" that carries not only ""thirty pairs of sleepy eyes"" but ""hundreds/ upon hundreds/ of/ school supplies."" Balancing work from such poets as Carl Sandburg and Myra Cohn Livingston with noteworthy entries from talented newcomers, he selects uniformly strong poems. Each provides crisp images that transform ordinary school utensils into verbal fun: ordinary paper clips become ""dragon grips"" with ""jaws/ no bigger/ than an inch"" (Rebecca Kai Dotlich); a compass ""draws/ a perfect circle/ like a skater gracefully/ tracing/ half a figure eight/ on paper ice"" (Georgia Heard); lines in a new notebook run ""like telephone wires"" while ""the alphabet settles between them,/ comfortable as a flock of crows"" (Judith Thurman). Flower's (City Noise) zany illustrations fill the pages with sprawling, wildly colored designs of cubist-style children and enough animated crayons, erasers and alphabet letters to please both teachers and students ready to begin a new year. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)