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|Poem for Peter : the story of Ezra Jack Keats and the creation of The snowy day|
Author: Pinkney, Andrea Davis
A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: .5 Quiz: 186502
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 70020
Kirkus Reviews (+) (09/15/16)
School Library Journal (10/01/16)
Booklist (+) (10/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/16)
The Hornbook (00/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2016 *Starred Review* This tribute poem to picture-book creator Ezra Jack Keats begins with The Snowy Day’s Peter, “Brown-sugar boy in a blanket of white. / Bright as the day you came onto the page. / From the hand of a man who saw you for you.” Pinkney recounts Jacob (Jack) Ezra Katz’s early years in Brooklyn as the son of struggling Polish Jews; details how his parents, teachers, and librarians encouraged his talent; and explains how he honed his illustration skills working for the WPA and the air force when he could not afford art school. She emphasizes how Keats’ personal experiences with discrimination (after the war, he modified his name to sound less Jewish in order to find work) helped him to identify with Peter, leading to “a snowstorm of dreams. / A blizzard of imagination. / Flurries of fun!” Fancher and Johnson’s acrylic, collage, and pencil illustrations seamlessly integrate images from Keats’ books into their own art, which employs a style complementary to the originals. Equally important, they skillfully represent Pinkney’s lyrical text, which sometimes requires historical accuracy, magic realism, and nods to future possibilities, all within one spread. With rich back matter on Keats’ legacy and his art, including a list of sources, this is an important book that belongs in any library where Peter is loved. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2016 Gr 2–4—Pinkney dives into the life and work of Ezra Jack Keats, specifically focusing on The Snowy Day and his creation of the main character, Peter. Using poetry (what the author refers to as "collage verse"), mainly addressed to Peter, Pinkney pieces together Keats's biography, tracing spots where early versions or hints of Peter can be found, and reflects on what a monumental event the publication of the picture book was and still is. Students will learn about Keats's early life, his tireless dedication to provide for his immigrant family, his love and pursuit of art, and how he changed his name from Jacob (Jack) Ezra Katz to Ezra Jack Keats to avoid anti-Semitism in the United States after World War II. Pinkney's verse seamlessly weaves together story and fact to craft an intimate conversation about the artist's history and impact. ("Brown-sugar child,/when you and your hue/burst onto the scene,/all of us came out to play.") Readers familiar with Keats will notice allusions to his other works throughout. The illustrations complement the text, and Keats's own style, by using mixed-media collages of prints, fabrics, photos, and paint, all of which capture the liveliness of the urban setting and historical points. This uplifting telling ends with a discussion of the cultural importance of Peter and how Keats's vision paved the way for authors and artists to look for and include children of color in their work. VERDICT This celebration of a visionary children's book author and illustrator is a lovely addition for most collections.—Briana Moore, Elmont Memorial Library, NY - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.