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Corn Chowder: Poems    by James Stevenson order for
Corn Chowder
by James Stevenson
Order:  USA  Can
Greenwillow, 2003 (2003)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

James Stevenson uses a combination of poetry and philosophy, sketches and graphic art, to reflect the curiosity and clear-eyed wisdom of childhood. His Corn series is corny in the best sense of the word - full of whimsy and out-of-the-box creativity. Though these books are intended for ages 8 up, IMHO they will be best appreciated by up. As in Piet Hein's grooks, simple poems stimulate complex ideas.

This author helps us look at the world in new ways. He annotates a picture of drugstore shelves well stocked with pills and other medicaments, 'When I go to the drugstore and see how many ailments there are, I am grateful to be ALIVE.' Stevenson questions what can be inside children's huge backpacks, why dogs are put in charge of so many things in the city, and how much peanut butter we eat in our lifetimes.

My favorites in this collection were the 'flying objects in outer space', a heartfelt suggestion for taking care of a cellphone, and the pictorial life span of an idea. Don't miss Corn Chowder, the latest volume in a very funny, very thoughtful series.

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