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Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me.

by Eloise Greenfield

Horn Book Greenfield presents poems from new puppy Thinker's and young owner Jace's points of view. The two philosophize about poetry and life while getting to know each other. The poems range from free verse, sometimes with well-paced internal rhyme, to more structured rhyming poems. Abdollahi's bright paper collages show a joyful, brown-skinned family, in a welcome addition to the too-small canon of lighthearted animal fantasy (and poetry) featuring children of color. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In a poetic narrative first published in the U.K., a boy's dog is much more than a friendly pooch-like his owner, Jace, he's a poet: "They named me Thinker, and I knew/ this was the place to be." Jace and Thinker communicate in non-rhymed verses. "When I recite my poems,/ I make music," Jace says. But even though Jace loves exchanging poems with Thinker at home, he fears how others might react if they heard him recite poetry. Abdollahi illustrates in evocative collage using handmade paper, capturing the feel of Jace's bustling community. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Greenfield sensitively conveys Jace's anxiety about being perceived as different, and his realization that being true to one's self is the best bet-for kids and dog poets, too. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Sixteen narratively connected verses feature a poetic dog, Thinker, and his seven-year-old rhymester human, Jace. Thinker's poems explore how he got his name, the mysteries of the universe, his desire to go to school, and his difficulties remembering not to declaim in the presence of humans outside his family. The pooch mostly succeeds until Pets' Day, when he spontaneously recites a jingle for Jace's class, prompting all the other pets to demonstrate their own special talents as well. Greenfield's poems are short, varied (many are free verse, but some are haiku and others rap), and mostly delivered from the dog's perspective. Abdollahi's mixed-media collage artwork features handmade and hand-colored papers that are inspired by the environment. The papers are particularly adept at conveying textures and shading, and while figures are stylized, the art works well both close up and from a story hour distance. Jace and his family are African American, and his neighborhood is nicely diverse. Appended with a note about the poems from Greenfield, this should encourage young wordsmiths.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus A puppy gets a new home and a new family while learning to communicate.When 7-year-old Jace receives a new pet dog, he picks out the perfect name for a puppy who believes he is a poet. "We'll name you Thinker,' yes, I think / that that's the name for you." Jace, too, is a poet. "When I recite my poems, / I make music." Not permitted to attend school with Jace, Thinker spends time at home with Jace's little sister, Kimmy, and visits with his twin, who lives nearby. At last, it's "Pets' Day at school," but Jace doesn't want his poet puppy to speak. As Thinker knows, he's afraid "his friends will say / he's a weird kid, with a weird pet." Despite his best effort not to, Thinker recites a poembut all the other pets join in with their own special talents, to the delight of the teacher, students, and even Jace. Greenfield brings her vast experience to this delightful piece of poetic whimsy that celebrates the powers of poetry, family, and friendship. Jace's family is African-American while neighbors and schoolmates are pictured as diverse. The poems are primarily free verse, but there are haiku and rap as well. Iranian illustrator Abdollahi uses expressive handmade and -colored paper collages to complement the mood. The light and liveliness of the pictures are eye-catching and appealing, and the color palette is warm and rich, further enhancing the poetry. A good way to introduce the youngest readers to extended narratives in verse. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1-2-What if your dog could speak human words? When Jace and his family want to name their new puppy "something cute," the dog objects. "Uh-uh! No way! No way!/I'm deep and I'm a poet. No!/A cute name's not OK." Naming him Thinker, Jace, who is a poet, shares his ideas about poetry with the pup. The improbable--even goofy--premise plays out as an entertaining, empathetic story and congenial poetry lesson through Greenfield's skilled writing. Abdollahi's fine use of cutting tools with hand-crafted papers produce simple, attractive characters and scenes. The title suggests that Jace will be the narrator, but Thinker takes center stage most of the time. Greenfield favors free verse that moves easily along, recounting Thinker's days and his eventual visit to Jace's school for Pets' Day. There is one haiku and a small rhymed verse along the way, and Thinker closes his stirring class visit and the book with a rap. Greenfield's short concluding commentary on poetry writing, free verse, and rap invites readers to also write their own poems. Modest in size, the narrative will work best with an early grade range for personal enjoyment, read-aloud, and discussion. It could also serve nicely in teaching both art and poetry writing in older classes. VERDICT A well-crafted title that is wide in appeal and possibilities for use.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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