Anne’s Feelings by Kelly Hill


Anne’s Feelings by Kelly Hill

Beautiful oversized board book for illustrating a variety of emotion–from being in the depths of despair to feeling full of wonder.

Every page has illustrations that are “hand-embroidered”, giving the book a patchwork look, which extends to the names for each of the feelings too. They are charmingly detailed–I especially love the tiny bees and flowers on some pages and the purple-heavy palette for the nighttime scene.The only page that gave me pause was the “scared” one–it has the back of a girl’s head with a ribbon on it that really triggers pareidolia (looks like an angry face), which kind of makes it even more of a scary situation. Smallest of nitpicks though. Overall very effective, both in general visual interest and in illustrating Anne’s feelings!

(I won this from the LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer giveaway.)

The Day War Came by Nicola Davies


The Day War Came by Nicola Davies

This is a hard book to review. For an adult it easily induced grief and was appropriately distressing for the topic it’s covering–displacement of children during times of war, the difficulties of finding acceptance as a refugee child.

I can’t be sure how it would hold up to a child, though–the loss of the family seemed to be an important point to me. But for the child-narrator of the story, she couldn’t even give words to the feelings. The story moves quickly–there is no stop for mourning. It’s a stark account–the illustrations show smoke-filled settings and blockish but emotive human figures.

Overall, I find the book successful, and it would be an excellent one to spark a conversation with children on acceptance and empathy.

(I won this from the LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer giveaway.)

The Stray Dog Cabaret: Russian Poems


This is the moment they told us would come some day
when there’s nobody left alive to hear what we say.
The world is no longer the place it used to be
Be still, don’t break my heart. Be silent, poetry.

Anna Akhmatova

Nations, faces, ages pass
Pass as in a dream,
an ever-flowing stream.
In Nature’s shifting glimmer-glass
stars are nets, we their haul,
gods are shadows on a wall.

Velimir Khlebnikov

Every poem is a love-child,
A penniless first-born
Bastard, set by the roadside
To beg from the winds.

Heart’s poison, heart’s adoration,
Heart’s paradise, heart’s grief.
His father may have been an emperor–
May have been a thief.

Marina Tsvetaeva

The Bamboo Grove: An Introduction to Sijo by Richard Rutt


Last night’s wind spoiled the blossoms
                of every peach tree in the garden.
Is the boy fetching a broom?
                Does he mean to sweep them up?
Fallen flowers, but still they are flowers:
                what need is there to sweep them?
“Love.” It is a lying word.
               That you love me, another lie.
“The loved one is seen in dreams.”
               That is still a greater lie.
How can I, who can never sleep,
               hope to see you in my dreams?
Kim Sangyong (1571-1637)
If my tears were made of pearls,
I would catch them all and save them.
When you came back ten years later,
a jeweled castle should enthrone you.
But these tears leave no trace at all.
So I am left desolate.

Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera


Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera

Very evocative! The early pages describing the small, quiet moments of childhood that you remember for a lifetime–a bird’s shadow, clamoring chickens and fuzzy flowers–are wonderfully vivid. The illustrations that accompany them are perfect for the poem–dreamy colors blending together and soft, thick outlines.

Some of the later stanzas fell flat to me–they tended towards excessive adjectives. The message of the book builds up well across the pages though, and as you read aloud, the “imagine” at the end of each stanza can build up in intensity.

(I won this from the LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer giveaway.)

Solitude, Vanity, Night: Czech Decadent Poetry


Deathly Mood

My soul is a gloomy vaulted cellar
where spider webs envelop every niche.
The breath of mold and dust waft here, and light
strays in but rarely, fearful, pale and sick.

My soul is a vaulted cellar where only
old things are cast to slowly putrefy.
A gray shadow lurks there, long and silent,
and sometimes sighs in the oppressive, deathly quiet.


Heavy, languid from the heat, on the trees a murmur falls
And hangs motionless, while in longing intervals
The oppressed forest breathes and a hot stream of sweat
And a coarse scent from fissured leaves mingles with its breath.
Beneath the rigid trees pale lethargy creeps,
Breathes foreboding in my face, settles next to me and speaks
With my melancholy soul in a language of dead words,
And within me the yearning for timeless mysteries stirs.
The sun’s overripe blossom withers in white gleams,
Quivers in sprays of twilight and sinks through the blue leaves
Into the mute exhaustion of apathetic hush, and quenched
In moss, in springs of mysterious breath,
It lulls me with lassitude, as beneath slow waves
Of blood, flowing over me from my freshly opened veins.