After some thought a young girl describes in poetic terms the kind of person she wants to be
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A much-lauded poet brings her gifts for stretching language and patterning images to the perennial, pedestrian query, "What do you want to be?" An African American girl ponders this question as she meanders home, and her thoughts seem to take as many detours as she does on her journey. She begins playfully--"I made a grass mustache, a dandelion beard, and bird nest toupee"--and grows ever more abstract: "I double-dutched with strands of rainbow. Then I fastened the strands to my hair and my toes and became a fiddle that sunbeams played. Then I sang with the oxygen choir." When she reaches home, the girl voices a string of aspirations: "I want to be quiet but not so quiet that nobody can hear me. I also want to be sound, a whole orchestra with two bassoons and an army of cellos. Sometimes I want to be just the triangle, a tinkle that sounds like an itch." Some readers may need to be guided through the kaleidoscope of metaphors that tumble across the pages; considering each image individually may elicit the greatest response. Pinkney's liquid watercolors, more impressionistic here than in A Starlit Somersault Downhill (see review above), also employ a more vibrant palette. Bright yellows, greens and reds suffused with light heighten the dreamlike quality of the text. Both author and illustrator push the limits of their arts; they deliver illusions with the texture of truth. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5-9. This begins with a young girl who is asked by several people what she wants to be. She doesn't have a ready response, but once she has time to think, she comes up with some extraordinary answers. "I want to be big but not so big that a mountain or a mosque or a synagogue seems small. . . . I want to be quiet but not so quiet that nobody can hear me. I also want to be sound, a whole orchestra with two bassoons and an army of cellos." And on a more whimsical note: "I want to be in motion but I want the ants in my pants to sometimes take a vacation." Most of all, "I want to be all the people I know, then I want to know more people so I can be them all. . . . I want to be life doing, doing everything. That's all." The ambitious text at times goes over the top and becomes pretentious in its imagery, but there is much here with which children can identify. All the pulling and pushing of life comes out in Moss' lilting writing, feelings that kids know all too well. Pinkney's lovely watercolor illustrations, featuring the African American narrator with her hair in cornrows, exude a life-affirming vitality and the sense that anything is possible. Use this as a starting point for discussion to get kids talking about what they would like to be. Ilene Cooper
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Book Description Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. Pinkney, Jerry (illustrator). First Edition. Stated First Edition - First Printing with complete number line. AS NEW in FINE jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 094652
Book Description Dial, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110803712863
Book Description Dial, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Jerry Pinkney (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0803712863
Book Description Dial, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0803712863