cover image Voices of the Dustbowl

Voices of the Dustbowl

Sherry Garland, illus. by Judith Hierstein. Pelican, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-58980-964-2

Garland imagines the voices of individuals living in the American Midwest during the Dust Bowl. In 1933 Texas, Bonnie and Clyde travel in a “stolen Ford V-8/ looking for a bank to rob.” Other characters include a nurse at a “makeshift hospital” in 1935 Kansas (“Every day I see mothers tend their dying babies,/ helplessly watching the small bodies struggle for air”) and a mother of nine en route to California, looking for work. There’s an immediacy and quiet desperation in Garland’s first-person unrhymed poems; while Hierstein’s paintings can be rich and evocative, particularly her landscapes, her characters’ expressions are at times lifeless. Additional historical information is densely packed into a two-page afterword. Ages 4–7. (Mar.)