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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Amazing Faces, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Soentpiet. Lee & Low, 2010. $19.95 ages 4 and up


My wishes gathered like ants.
I wished there were no recess.
I wished there was no first day.
I wished somebody, anybody
Would come over and ask me to play.

Then you said, "Excuse me.
Would you keep me company?
I'm feeling all alone."

Remember Miss Stone?

I loved you that day.
You made my unhappy thoughts
Scamper away.

Nikki Grimes"

The little girl's face shows the sheer delight she feels when Miss Stone makes a special effort to make her day better. Do we realize what small gestures mean for so many?

In this new remarkable collection by award winning and highly respected poet and anthologist, Lee Bennett Hopkins, we benefit from unparalleled skill at choosing wonderful poems from a wide variety of accomplished writers. It is serendipitous that Chris Soenpiet was chosen to illustrate them. He captures every nuance suggested in the words and seems privy to all the feelings and memories that spawned the poetry. I wonder how he does that?

The first, and title, poem is about an amazing face...the face of a new baby. So much to be anticipated with its arrival. The mother beams, as does baby with all the joy of sharing their lives. In the next a young boy sleeps soundly while his mother works at her sewing machine doing the work that provides for life for both. The look on the mother's face as she gazes upon her son is filled with pride and love. And on we go...from one lovely poem and matching spectacular illustration to the next. I have already decided which will be marked for sharing with a group of teachers attending a summer institute in two weeks. They will be extending their learning concerning working with English language learners and the poem ME x 2 is a perfect introduction. I can't wait.

I will surely have other favorites to share depending on where I am and what the focus is. As a retired teacher, you can guess why I chose MISS STONE for my featured poem. This is a very special collection and one of my new favorite books of poetry...with indelible poems accompanied by 'amazing faces' at every turn. Just look at the cover art and stare in wonder at the joy etched there!

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