"The Beauty of Words," April Book Buzz Picks - The Missourian: Blogs

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"The Beauty of Words," April Book Buzz Picks

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Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 10:45 am | Updated: 12:22 pm, Tue Apr 8, 2014.

Hail April, garbed in green, leafy splendor. As the world springs back to life, Newsbee’s flying high. He’s over the moon about the authors whose titles he’s highlighting this month — three books by wordsmiths who have crafted beautiful poetry and an enchanting novel for young readers. Page on in April, National Poetry Month, glory in “The Beauty of Words.”

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That dandy-pandy is back, the black and white all-over-star made famous by author Jon J Muth. This time the wise zen-bear shares a year’s worth of haikus in “Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons.”

The book begins by highlighting the golden hues of autumn, “Are you dreaming of new clothes,” and ends with lush, warm summer moments, …Up with the kite! send the moon to bed!” In between, panda robustly rejoices in what each season offers in the company of a little girl and boy equally as adorable as their buddy.

In spring they relish “Reading aloud a favorite book, an audience of sparrows.” And in the summer “Water catches every thrown stone, skip-skip splash!” Simple activities are treasures rarified in the hands of Muth, a master of exquisite watercolor and eloquent words.

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Our nation’s beloved poet Walt Whitman made it his life’s work to tell the stories of “ordinary Americans.” His passion shines like a beacon in “Walt Whitman: Words for America,” by Barbara Keley, realistically and richly illustrated by Brian Selznick, of Caldecott fame.

Whitman began his career in newspapers when articles were type set using lead letters. “He saw the boxes of letters as a great mystery, waiting to unfold.” By the age of 19, he was publishing his own newspaper with his brother.

When Whitman began dabbling in poetry his genius blossomed. He drew inspiration from nature, the people around him, and from his travels in America.

When the Civil War broke out, Whitman was crestfallen. The war became personal when his brother went missing. Whitman’s quest to find him took him to battlefields and hospitals. His experiences provided the impetus for many of his poems.

This biography of Whitman’s life sings with noteworthy phrases; it’s a must read to digest slowly.

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You can expect a book that’s “spindiddly” and “factofabulous” when you dig into “A Snicker of Magic,” a creamy-double-dip of pleasure by Natalie Lloyd. There are enough yummy quotes in this charmer to fill a banjo case.

Felicity “Flea” Pickles is only in the sixth grade, but she’s already lived in a handful of states. Her dad walked out on her mom, leaving her to wander on the hunt for happiness. Felicity, her mama and little sister hope to find a just-right home in Midnight Gulch, Tenn., where her mother grew up.

Back then, the town was steeped in magic, but a curse stripped Midnight Gulch of its specialness. Now there’s just a “snicker of magic” left. The curse arose out of a feud between the “Threadbare Brothers,” a contest that pitted Stone against Berry, each working spells to outdo the other.

A winner was declared, but Midnight Gulch’s citizens were the true losers. Their stories are revealed as Felicity and her do-gooder friend, the mysterious Beedle, prepare Felicity for a talent show that just might break the spell.

There’s plenty of homespun fun in this charmer.

/blogs