cover image I'm Small and Other Verses

I'm Small and Other Verses

Lilian Moore. Candlewick Press (MA), $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1169-9

This uneven collection of 18 poems has moments of literary excellence and, unfortunately, archaisms as well. At their best, Moore's (I Never Did That Before) verses are models of economy, child-friendly and evocative. For example, a child muses on the joys of a snowsuit: ""I'm zippered/ up to my chin./ I like my zipper skin./ I like the way it keeps me/ IN."" Other entries seem dated, either in their references or in their use of language. A list of things that come in pairs includes ""gloves to wear going to town""; a child describing an arm that's fallen asleep says, ""Ooh!/ Now that it's waking,/ How funny it is!/ Like ginger ale/ That starts to fizz."" A recurring cast of multicultural children stars in the illustrations. The mood of the pictures is invariably cheerful; even when a narrator is shown growing bored (as in the poem ""Waiting""), McElmurry adds a comic touch (in this case, a cat unties the ribbon on the present the narrator waits to give someone). However, her contributions here lack the wit of her Mad About Plaid. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)