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Preview: Booklist Online - Review of the Day

Booklist Online - Review of the Day

Last Build Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2017 01:29:33 GMT

Copyright: ALA Booklist Publications Copyright 2007

The Watcher.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 01:29:32 GMT

Grimes, Nikki (author). Illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Oct. 2017. 42p. Eerdmans, hardcover, $17 (9780802854452). Grades 3-5. 811.
REVIEW. First published November 15, 2017 (Booklist). Grimes mines Psalm 121 for inspiration in telling the stories of children with troubles who find strength and sustenance from God. The psalm (“I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?”) begins the book. In short bursts of poetry, readers meet Jordan, who fears his tormentor, and Tanya, the bully, whose stuttering isolates her. Grimes uses the Golden Shovel poetry form, which takes consecutive words from an existing poem (here, the psalm) and places them at the end of each line of original poetry that precedes it. So, while Jordan questions whether or not he should keep the wallet he finds on the ground, the vertical message is “he will not let your foot slip.” This constraint could impinge upon story or feelings, but in Grimes’ expert hands, that almost never happens. (Only one stanza, when Jordan’s told he must have his tonsils removed, feels forced.) Readers will be moved by Tanya’s fears and Jordan’s ability to reach out. Collier uses his look-and-look-again collage work, here in earth tones, to capture and extend the emotions bubbling near the surface. Childhood concerns, some common, some not, are elevated by the infusion of God into this wholly (and holy) original mix. — Ilene Cooper