Thursday, December 6, 2012

Not so straight up

A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down by Dana Jensen is a visual feast in a lean sort-of-way.  Short poems written in one word sentences are meant to be read from the bottom-up or top-down.  It’s not always clear where to start (at the top or at the bottom) but can be quickly figured out when the lines don’t make sense.

The up and down-ness of the poems figure into what is being described: stars that make wishes are above us and so start up and come down; a hand held balloon on a string goes from the hand upwards until the balloon pops.  Verticality is definitely part of the word-picture dynamic.

The poems themselves are slices of whimsy (could a long-necked giraffe make a meal of the stars?) and everyday life (a dad climbing a ladder to paint a missed spot on a house peak) that reflects a child’s perspective.

The illustrations are a treat, too. Rendered in watercolour and ink, their cartoony feel adds to the playfulness of the text. 

Recommended for elementary grades.


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