cover image GIVE YOURSELF TO THE RAIN: Poems for the Very Young

GIVE YOURSELF TO THE RAIN: Poems for the Very Young

Margaret Wise Brown, , illus. by Teri L. Weidner, foreword by Leonard S. Marcus. . S&S, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83344-1

Although many of the previously unpublished poems in this posthumous collection demonstrate the lyricism of Brown's best work, others seem clunky, as if the poems needed further polishing to find the quiet rhythms and grace of language hidden inside. Marcus, Brown's biographer, provides an eloquent foreword and relates how Brown scribbled poems on the backs of envelopes, but was a "consummate craftsperson [who] might fiddle with a single line for years." Some verses in this padded volume could have used a bit more fiddling. On the other hand, Brown consistently conveys universal childhood experiences in clear language without complexity. She describes a first snowstorm as "White/ And quiet in the night," and dandelions as "Bright yellow/ Constellations/ Brave little lions/ Suns in the grass." The poems vary from the impish surprise of "Pussycat and the Pumpkin" to the wistful longing in "The Sound of the Wind Is a Wild Sound" to the raucous singsong sounds of "Pig Jig." Even with some static watercolor and pencil illustrations, Weidner (Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny) for the most part utilizes subtle textures and sensitively reflects the tone of the poems. While the painting for "In the Sugar Egg" does not quite match details in the poem, for instance, the illustration accompanying "Colors" interweaves selective images from the text to make a seek-and-find landscape of flowers and insects. A somewhat disappointing but nonetheless welcome collection for fans of Brown's Goodnight Moon. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)