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June 1&15, 2013 BOOKLIST
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Bright, mixed-media collage scenes illustrate this picture-book poetry collection that plays with literary allusions. In “Cliffhanger,” a desperate dog clinging to a cliff above a shark-filled ocean implores, “Please, author, write / a sequel fast!” In another selection, a character pleads for his life: “Don’t close the cover and don’t walk away / Don’t leave me squished in here day after day.” On one spread, the index brags: “I’m telling you, kid: ignore the rest of the book. / All you really need is me.” Plot has a voice in another poem: “My characters / hate me. They don’t think I’m grand. / But without me / their plots / would be dreary / and bland.” And in a poem for three voices, Beginning and Ending try to comfort Middle and show him he matters, and then the three vie for importance. With its mix of poetic forms and wry twists on language-arts terms, this is a natural choice for sharing in classrooms and young writers’ workshops.