by George Elliott Clarke
illustrations by Susan Tooke
Poet George Elliott Clarke's first poetry collection for children is a curious mixture of light and dark. Some of his poems take delight in nature, children, and imagination, but there's an ominous undercurrent the runs underneath. He may trumpet spring's new leaves, backyard treasures, and the sugary whiteness of the moon: / Snow scooped up by a silver spoon, yet stars eye us like vultures, peacocks chew dirt, and Cupid's arrows snare you in sorrows. Another page depicts the misery of prisons and being poor.
Thankfully, Clarke's poems for his daughter Aurélia end things on a high note. His verses, written during Aurélia's first nine years of life, lovingly capture a parent's wonder and joy at a child's growing up.