Friday, May 02, 2008

If You Know a Kid Who Draws...

[Lemons, by Mark Leithauser]

Here's a quick recommendation for a book that David R. Godine brought out in 2007 but that I've just caught up with: TOAD TO A NIGHTINGALE by brothers Brad (the poet) and Mark (the artist) Leithauser. Its tongue-in-cheek poems, strongly rhymed, are accompanied by amphibians, flowers, birds, fruits, all in the warm personal style of the pen-and-inks that accompanied the children's books of a hundred years ago (Wind in the Willows, for instance). Give it to a boy or girl who can't stop drawing; see what the kids make of it. My guess is, they'll hunger to craft their own versions -- and may even begin to draft poems to go along with the images.

One of my favorite poems in the collection is "Gnu," which opens:

No news of gnus is good news, it seems clear,
Since anything you're apt to hear
Will deal in shrinking habitats,
Declining populations...

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