Heller's newest concept book explicates and celebrates verbs of all kinds, in ebullient verses which themselves sail and soar. As in her previous works, the verses are accompanied by bold, gaily colored graphics that are especially striking for their skillful use of pattern and design. More ambitious in scope than her earlier books, however, this one attains a level of textual and conceptual complexity that may, by the end, leave its intended audience behind. The adroit but increasingly difficult verses addressing such points as tense, mood and voice may be of more interest to a parent or teacher than to a child, for whom the book's simpler, beginning pages are likely to hold more direct appeal. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)
K-Gr 5 Heller, who celebrated collective nouns in A Cache of Jewels (Grossett, 1987) here gives similar treatment to verbs in singing verse with vibrant illustrations which fairly leap from the pages in double-page spreads. While verbs do not lend themselves easily to two-dimensional illustrations, and many of the concepts here are too advanced and abstract for the usual picture book age child, these illustrations and the design of the book have such appeal that even children to whom the words seem mostly gibberish will enjoy the rhythm and visual impact of the book. Older children will find it a painless and concise grammar lesson as well as a visual treat. Most of the verse flows smoothly, and the meanings are clear. Verbs illustrated are well chosen and not hackneyed. While the overall design of the book is outstanding, it is unfortunate (for library circulation) that the text continues on the endpapers. This book should be a boon to language arts teachers in the upper elementary grades as well as fun for all children and adults who love to play with language. Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, N.J.