________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 16. . . .December 20, 2013

cover

Lasso the Wind: Aurélia's Verses and Other Poems.

George Elliott Clarke. Illustrated by Susan Tooke.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2013.
64 pp., hardcover, $24.95.
ISBN 978-1-77108-050-7.

Subject Heading:
Children's poetry, Canadian (English).

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Rain thrashes, trembles, through branches
Gusty, lusty avalanches
Pure fluid April's pearls downfall,
Demolishing snow, ice and all

 

Poet and playwright George Elliott Clarke shares thoughts and feelings both lighthearted and deep in his first collection of children's poetry. Subject matter ranges from stars and space, seasons and sport, animals real and fantastical to music and day to day problems. Several poems are devoted to Clarke's daughter, Aurelia, written on the occasions of her first nine birthdays, commending her blossoming qualities and abilities.

internal art     With their simple straightforward language, some of the poems can pique the imagination: Can you make oceans bend, to cradle each lost whale? What child wouldn't be amused by the absurd ingredients of a dragon's picnic (snails, dirty underwear)? And there is truth-seeking to ponder: smile at troubles, and trouble's done, and sport is best when no score is kept. Clarke muses about music, color, love and sleep. In more subtle terms, he evokes the affirmation of one's beliefs about laws and poverty.

      Children's book illustrator Susan Tooke has enhanced the whimsy and impact of the poems with bright and delightfully animated paintings, such as the rollicking animals at the oasis that canter, prance, go free and munch. A double-page spread stands out for its interpretation of these few lines:

A snake passes;
The field rumbles.
A cloud masses;
Down rain tumbles.

     Rich imagery emerges here along with the artist's striking snowy nighttime scene:

That sugary whiteness of the moon;
Snow scooped up by a silver spoon.

     This eclectic mix might appeal to a range of readerships, but perhaps it isn't a book that the youngest audience would choose to read independently.

Recommended.

Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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