A River of Words

river of words a

A River of Words
The Story of William Carlos Williams

Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008

From the dust jacket: “Willie’s words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. So when he grew up, he went off to medical school and became a doctor – one of the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing poetry.

“In this picture book biography of William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed-media illustrations celebrate the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be poet.”

I checked this book out not necessarily for the story, but for the illustrator, Melissa Sweet. The LoC fell in love with her artistry after reading The Right Word. We love collage! And in this case, the artist accentuates her collage with watercolor. I was familiar with the story of William Carlos Williams and it was good to see his story illustrated for kittens. Most poetry just flies above my head but his is about every day things in every day language. Beautiful, succinct word pictures. Expose your kittens to both collage and poetry – read them this book! A fun summer activity would be to have them write a poem about whatever they want and then create a collage using magazine pictures and coloring book pages! I just might do that myself!!

Rating 5 out of 5 for glorious artistry!

Reviewer: PeggySue peggysue-loc



Poetry From Scratch

poetry scratch

Poetry from Scratch
A Kitten’s Book of Verse

Jennifer McCartney
The Countryman Press, 2016

From the back of the book, “Poems by cats. About cats and things that cats care about. Cats. They’re temperamental and aloof. They don’t come when they’re called. They don’t fetch balls. They scorn any attempt at love and affection. So is it any wonder that cats are terrific poets? Here you’ll find both angst and attitude, humor and hubris, with poems like “Feed Me”:

I’d like to file a formal complaint:
(The Ritz this certainly ain’t)
My dish has been bare
Since nine past a hair!
Madam, soon I’ll lose all restraint.

“This collection of purr-ty good poetry offers something for every cat lover.”

Ha, ha!!! So funny – these poems are great. I wish I had written them because the author has captured the feline so perfectly in her poetry (actually, the cat’s poetry dictated to their human secretary). There’s haiku:

Haiku of Shame
Returned from the vet
Plastic cone embarrassment
Please, please kill me now

There’s also classic poetry as it was originally written before being stolen by humans:

O Captain! My Captain!
O Captain! My Captain!
Our fearful trip to the vet is done:
My body has weather’d every shot,
the prize you sought is won;
The house is near, the birds I hear,
The neighbor’s dog exulting.
While follow eyes the steady keep,
this Honda Vessel grim and daring:
                But O scratch! Scratch! Scratch!
                         O the bleeding drops of red,
                                Where o’er the steering wheel my Captain lies,
                                    Fallen cold and dead.
As punishment.
For taking me to the vet.

Funny, right? And so true. If only I could get out of the pet carrier!

Rating 5 out of 5 – Accompanying the outstanding poems are wonderful pictures of cats and kittens, mostly tabbies, but beautiful nonetheless!!


loc jackJack

I Could Pee On This

i could peeI Could Pee On This
And Other Poems by Cats

Francesco Marciuliano
Chronicle Books, 2012

This book was reviewed earlier this year by Ellen over at 15 and Meowing, which is how we found out about it. And I am so glad we did!  It is so funny!! OMC – it is as if the author was taking my thoughts right out of my head and typing them! The author states in his introduction that after the reader finishes, he hopes “you’ll not only completely understand everything your cat thinks and does but even applaud him for it.” [!]  The poems are short and funny so even if you don’t like poetry or ‘don’t get it’ you’ll be able to get this poetry – that is if you have a cat or love someone who does!! If you’re exclusively a dog person, you’ll be, like, wha??????? and you won’t enjoy it, or at least not as much.

You know I have to share 2 of my favorites with you. I MOL’d so much while reading them!!!

Did You Know

Did you know?
Did you see?
Did you count?
How many times
I had to smack that moth
On your forehead
With my paw?
He’s dead now, though
Definitely dead
One more smack
You’re welcome


I’m sorry I tripped you in the hall
I’m sorry I tripped you in the den
I’m sorry I tripped you in the bedroom
I’m sorry I tripped you in the kitchen
I’m sorry I tripped you in the attic
I’m sorry I tripped you in the basement
I’m sorry I tripped you out the door
I’m sorry I tripped you on hard cement
But some men paid me five grand to kill you

Alright, I have to share just one more – my absolute favorite!!!

That Top Shelf

I think I can jump to that top shelf
I want to jump to that top shelf
I know I can jump to that top shelf
I am jumping to that top shelf
I missed that top shelf by a good six feet
And now everything is on the floor
And I’m left wondering
Why people even bother buying china
If it breaks so easily

Rating:5 paws– we want this book in our library!!

041716aReviewer:  Toby

I read this as a part of the Summer Reading Challenge, 2016

Topic: Read a book of Poetry

Click on the logo to find out more about the challenge!!

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Wabi Sabi


Wabi Sabi

Mark Reibstein
Art by Ed Young
Little, Brown and Company, 2008

“Wabi Sabi is a way of seeing the world that is at the heart of Japanese culture. It finds beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, natural, modest and mysterious. It can be a little dark, but it is also warm and comfortable. It may be best understood as a feeling, rather than as an idea.” (from the frontispiece of the book)

This picture book is the story of a cat named Wabi Sabiwabi c who desires to learn the meaning of her name. She asks a cat named Snowball, who tells her it is a kind of beauty. wabi aShe still doesn’t understand so she asks a dog who was mean to her. Still curious, Wabi Sabi asks a bird who suggests she travel to see a wise, old monkey who lives on Mount Hiei. She undertakes the journey and learns what she desires.wabi b

What a beautifully crafted book – from the words, to the haiku, to the art work. I think the collaged artwork is my favorite. Each scene has been crafted using handmade paper, with real pine needles, leaves and bark on some of them. The book, like the cat, is, indeed, wabi sabi.wabi d

This is a subtle way of introducing Japanese culture to anyone, really, but particularly children. They learn about haiku, the Tea Ceremony, and, of course, wabi sabi.

Rating 5 paws out of 5

simon 2 loc

Reviewer: Simon


Langston Hughes, Poetry


Langston Hughes | Poems

Selected and edited by David Roessel
Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, Alfred A. Knopf, 1999

As a general rule The Board doesn’t read poetry but we – BobbieSue – decided to stretch our collective imagination and read such a book for the Summer Reading Challenge. This selection of poems runs the gamut from love sonnets to songs of everyday life and spirituality as well as calls for change. Mr. Hughes has captured the American culture of the 1920s through the 1960s in a way that still seems fresh in today’s world. I have selected a few for you to read and enjoy.

A Cuban Portrait

The shadows
Of too many nights of love
Have fallen beneath your eyes.
Your eyes,
So full of pain and passion,
So full of lies,
Sp full of pain and passion.
So deeply scarred,
So still with silent eyes.
Pg 39

Colored child at carnival

Where is the Jim Crow section
On this, merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Cant’ sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There’s a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we’re put in the back—
But there ain’t no back
To a merry-o-round!
Where’s the horse
For a kid that’s black?
Pg 114

(September 15, 1963)

Four little girls
Who went to Sunday School that day
And never came back home at all
But left instead
Their blood upon the wall
With spattered flesh
And bloodied Sunday dresses
Torn to shreds by dynamite
That China made aeons ago—
Did not know
That what China made
Before China was ever Red at all
Would redden with their blood
This Birmingham-on-Sunday wall.

Four tiny girls
Who left their blood upon that wall,
In little graves today await
The dynamite that might ignite
The fuse of centuries of Dragon Kins
Whose tomorrow sings a hymn
The missionaries never taught Chinese
In Christian Sunday School
To implement the Golden Rule.

Four little girls
Might be awakened someday soon
By songs upon the breeze
As yet unfelt among magnolia trees.
Pgs 163-164

Remembering Four Little Girls  Go HERE for more information

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for the timelessness of Langston Hughes’ poetry.

bobbiesue headshotReviewer: BobbieSue

Langston Hughes

Paperback, 717 pages, Random House Inc, List Price: $19.95 | purchase langston hughes is on facebook to connect with langston hughes sign up ... Not Without Laughter ABOUT THIS BOOK Langston Hughes