cover image Sun Is So Quiet

Sun Is So Quiet

Nikki Giovanni. Henry Holt & Company, $18.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-4119-4

Giovanni (The Genie in the Jar) and Bryan (What a Morning!) form a fruitful partnership in this ebullient collection of 13 poems. Whatever Giovanni's topic, her poetry builds on an underlying exuberance: of cold-weather preparations, she writes, ""Bears store fat/ chipmunks gather nuts/ and I collect books/ for the coming winter""; she describes little boys as ""Missing teeth skinned elbows/ Always/ Stinky sticky slippery/ Sweaty and Sweet."" That joy is reflected in the warmth and vigor of Bryan's radiant, rainbow hues and stylized designs. The poems hover like butterflies, darting in to make their point and then fluttering off. Some, like the bedtime poem ""Covers,"" are short and sweet, some are contemplative (""Connie""), while others are imagistic, as in her ode to snowflakes in the e.e. cummings-esque ""Winter Poem"" (""i squeezed them and they became/ a spring rain and i stood perfectly/ still and was a flower""). The bold, fluid lines of the gouache and tempera compositions make for a particularly eye-catching volume, just right for reeling in the read-aloud crowd and introducing them to the joys of poetry. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)