cover image All the World a Poem

All the World a Poem

Gilles Tibo, trans. from the French by Erin Woods, illus. by Manon Gauthier. Pajama (IPS, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77278-009-3

The wide-eyed, button-nosed young poets in Gauthier’s collages give this collection much of its appeal. Drawn on paper, cut out, and placed against backdrops filled with scribbled and scumbled textures, the children look at the world, think about poetry, and try writing it. In the first spread, three children listen to two others playing recorders: “Day or night, with friend or foe,/ I love poems even though/ I haven’t found a rhyme for ‘chocolate.’ ” Later, a boy gazes lovingly at a cluster of stuffed animals in his bed: “At night,/ all the poems/ from all the books/ put on their pajamas/ and curl up/ under my quilt.” Though Tibo (Shy Guy) occasionally strays toward the trite (“Poetry is... the flight of a butterfly at the end of my nose”), he offers some memorable observations: “And then, to see if it sounds nice,/ I read the poem once or twice/ To all the lovely, little mice/ who listen silently.” By portraying children as poets, Gauthier (Elliot) presents poetry as something that belongs to everyone—not just grownups. Ages 6–12. (Nov.)