Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A RIVER OF WORDS (William Carlos Williams)

A RIVER OF WORDS: THE STORY OF WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans)
What a beautiful tribute to the poet who brought us a red wheelbarrow upon which so much depends and the apologetic eating of plums, a man who worked hard all day as a busy doctor, and then fled to a world wallpapered in his own imaginings when the moon rose. The story captures not only the romance and beauty of being a poet, but the bravery and hard work as well; it's hard not to fall just a little bit in love wit ol' William. Illustrator Melissa Sweet has a lot of titles out these days (TUPELO RIDES THE RAILS, CARMINE: A LITTLE MORE RED and BABY BEAR'S BOOKS to name a few), all consistently darling, but I this one in particular has a texture that goes beyond Sweet's sweetness, that I hope will warrant a closer gander by awards committees for the subtle and ecelectic genius she brings to books; she is one of those very gifted illustrators whose pictures truly bring something more to the text. Here, she weaves the words of the poet in and out of her artwork like a fine and golden thread. Thorough and affecting, this book also includes a timeline, notes from the author and the illustrator, and poems on the endpapers. (7 and up)

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