Reviews for Poem Runs : Baseball Poems and Paintings

Booklist Reviews 2012 May #1
Baseball is the center of Florian's latest poetry book. The large, square-as-a-baseball-diamond format opens up to double-page illustrations that showcase poems such as "Pitcher," in which the player tries to intimidate his opponents with verses such as "I'm the scourge of all hitters, / The starter of slumps. / I make batters bitter, / Turn bats into stumps." In "Right Fielder," a less confident player reflects on picking daisies in the outfield. A note identifies the mixed-media illustrations as "gouache watercolors, oil pastels, colored pencils, and pine tar on primed paper bags." Colorful and expressive, the pictures use exaggeration effectively for poems such as "Third Baseman," where the player's bulging biceps loom larger than his torso, and "Base Stealer," in which only one arm and leg are captured in the frame because the fleet-footed runner is that fast. An enjoyable collection of verse aimed at children who play the game. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Fifteen poems (sixteen if you count the back cover!) center on a baseball team's season. Each entry features Florian's signature wit and brevity: "With greatest greed / I take my lead. / My greatest need / Is speed" (from "Base Stealer"). The poems are set against double-page spreads with summery mixed-media illustrations featuring rubber-limbed baseball players--both male and female.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 February #1
Warm up and get in training for a full season of baseball poems. Each verse focuses on one element of the game, from the baseball itself to the position players and hitters. Even the umpire has his moment. The 15 verses vary in length from eight to 16 lines, and all have strong rhythms that beg to be read with a bouncing lilt. Florian also plays with shapes and patterns of words, spacing "stretch" so it appears to do just that, and placing "leaps," "climbs" and "plummets" in their appropriate orientations. He creates some delightful phrases in "Pitcher," who is "the starter of slumps," and "the strikeout collector." But he also misses the mark with several rhymes and images that seem forced and clumsy. There's little new or surprising here, but the poems generally capture the joy of boys and girls playing just for the love of the game. The introductory poems that begin the season share a page opening, while each subsequent poem has its own double-page spread with an exaggerated, elongated figure on the greens and sands of a baseball field. Rendered in a mix of gouache watercolors, oil pastels, colored pencils and pine tar (how apt!) on primed paper bags, the illustrations appear textured and touchable, with a childlike quality. A lighthearted reminder of why we love the game. (Picture book/ poetry. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #1

Florian gives readers a tour of the baseball diamond, focusing mostly on the various positions on the field, in upbeat poems that exude a bravado and competitive spirit that's perfect for the subject matter. The poems accompany naïf, chalklike mixed-media artwork that uses watercolors, pastels, and (appropriately enough) pine tar on a canvas of paper bags; Florian exaggerates the players' physicality, as they bend, leap, and swing, their limbs stretching across the spreads. Cockiness and comedy intertwine throughout: "Our slugger can zing/ Each pitch you may hurl./ And one other thing:/ Our slugger's a girl," Florian writes, as the batter bares her teeth and gets ready to swing at the ball, which is shown in tatters on the following spread ("Crash it/. Mash it./ Hit it./ Spit it./ Been there./ Did it"). Much like her hit, this one's a blast. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 March

Gr 2-6--Both sports enthusiasts and Florian fans will welcome this collection. Most of the 15 short selections are written from the point of view of children playing different positions on the team. Many of the images are stereotypical but amusing, like the right fielder who spends her time picking daisies and the slugger who is a girl. All of the poems are written in short, clipped, rhyming lines that give the book a sense of energy and rhythm. "I can catch curve balls./I can catch heat./I can catch sliders/With glove or with feet." The poems are printed, one to a spread, in legible white font against dark backgrounds. Some of them have creative typesetting, and the titles are set in a variety of hues. The colorful illustrations are done in different mediums, painted or drawn on paper bags. The stylized figures are distorted to suggest force and motion. The art has a childlike quality, looking as though it could be the work of the very player it represents. A great choice for sandlot players who just want to have fun.--Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT

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