Tiana has a pocketful of words: green words like spring, night words like moon, and words with wings, like angel. Each word is the inspiration for a pair of poemsone, lyrical free verse and the other, haiku. The paired poems reflect Tiana’s lively spirit and urban outlook and are showcased in Javaka Steptoe’s inventive collages, which include a wide range of materials, from faucet handles to pumpkin seeds to a hand-sculpted, gilded alphabet. A fusion of two remarkable creative talents, A Pocketful of Poems is an engaging portrait of a down-to-earth girl who has a way with words, as well as a tantalizing introduction to poetry. Author’s note on haiku.
Imagine having a pocketful of wordspigeon, hot, angels, shower, gifts¾that you can take out to create poetry. Free verse captures the feeling"CATERPILLARthe word wriggles in my pocket...I reach for it, but it worms away..." A free verse poem is coupled on each double- page foldout with Haiku. Haiku is a seventeen-syllable, three-line poem that originated in Japan, but is open to universal interpretation. "Magic! Evening snow...drifts turn! Each starlight into...a star on a stick." Grimes has coupled these paired poems with the contemporary art form of a Harlem-born city girl. The poems invite young authors to write poetry of their own and set them into artistic collages. What would you do with an old faucet, some straws, a sponge and textured papers? Steptoe has used a wide variety of found objects to create fanciful creations that seem to spring from the page. Old tin pie plates make a silvery moon, while a baseball bat fashioned out of straws invites us to take "one last sip of summer." Children will enjoy the three-dimensional aspect of the creative artwork and teachers can use the book as a springboard for writing. 2001, Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin, . Ages 6 to 12. Reviewer: Laura Hummel