Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play Among Figures of Speech

Candlewick. Mar. 2022. 72p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781536203035.
Gr 4 Up–Ordinary moments sparkle with imagery, beauty, and wit in this illustrated collaboration between former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and noted poet Connie Wanek. The introductory poem, “A Disappointment,” defines the rest of this collection, which is organized according to the four elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Jones opens the scene with a fox zooming off page, a snowy hill and bare trees behind it. The poem is on the right of this spread, and the speaker states seeing a winter tree “clowning around” on one leg. Jones’s art, paint that is rendered digitally, is muted and whimsical, delicately nuanced to illustrate a dancing tree for those who want to see. Although the speaker’s friend replies it is “all in my imagination,” it’s clear the disappointment is for those who wish to no longer imagine. The 27 poems that follow invite readers to examine the every day in another way: Meteor showers are cat’s claws scraping the sky, tadpoles are lively punctuation marks, and harps are golden moths bursting with song. Each poem has a full spread with fanciful illustrations matching the capricious tone of the work. An afterword, with an extra poem by each author and an invitation to imagine, is included. An enjoyable choice for introducing poetry and literary devices for all ages.
VERDICT A must purchase for all libraries.

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