Call Me Marianne
Jen Bryant & David A. Johnson
Eerdmans, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch
onathan notices a strange woman riding on his bus. She is dressed entirely in black and wears a tri-cornered hat. Both Jonathan and the woman get off the bus and head to the Brooklyn Zoo. While he is visiting his favorite animals, Jonathan notices the woman's distinctive hat blowing around in the wind. When he finds her, he returns her hat, and she invites him to walk around with her while she observes the animals, furiously taking notes.
he woman turns out to be Marianne Moore, a Pulitzer-Prize winning American poet who, in reality, featured many animals in her poems. Moore continues to study the animals, with Jonathan by her side. She encourages him to explore the creative process, and to write poetry based on his own observations of zoo animals.
he picture book's message will likely be lost on younger children, but older kids may appreciate the notion that everyone sees the world through different eyes, and that everyone has some creativity inside of them. Bryant includes a short biography of Moore at the end of the book. The granite-like illustrations are shaded, and the muted, almost sepia-toned colors are unusual in a picture book, but seem appropriate for the subject matter.
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