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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Doggy Slippers, written by Jorge Lujan and illustrated by Isol. Groundwood, 2009. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"My monkey and I are exactly alike
except for our hands and feet,
our hair,
our bodies,
our mouths,
our clothes,
and that I don't stink."

I  am thrilled to find books that show young children that they, too, can write poetry. In this lovely book about the young and their pets we learn much about the affection that owners have for their cherished companions. Each was written with a child from Latin America and all types of pets are here described. It takes a child to bring such joy and exuberance to the experiences of pet ownership.

"My bunny understands me.
When I'm sad she can tell right away.
And though she walks on four feet
and she likes to bite,
she's nicer that the nicest people."

In a note at the end of the book Jorge Lujan tells his readers that it was suggested that he 'should propose a theme, the children would suggest stories, and together we would "cook up" poetry in a kind of poetic kitchen."

What a brilliant idea and a thoughtful and charming readaloud this is for young children, and aspiring poets.
There is voice, character and inspiration for telling their own stories. In the beginning, they might empathise with the marmot:

"The marmot grrrowls
because he doesn't like
or his teacher,
who makes him write
nnno-good poems."

In the past year, I have seen Isol's artwork in four books. I am a new fan and ardent admirer of the work she does! She has such perspective for her subject and shows her understanding in exciting illustrations that are colored to emphasize feelings, actions and the dramatic world of young children. She provides perfect backdrops for the elegance and perseverance of each young poet. Well done!

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