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Arnold Adoff: Criticism and Reviews

Love Letters reviewed by Etta Wilson, Children's Book Editor of bookpage.com.

Mel Glenn and Arnold Adoff: The Poetics of Power in the Adolescent Voice-lyric. Style, Fall, 2001, by Joseph T. Thomas, Jr.

Additional criticism and review of Arnold Adoff's works can be found at your local public library.

The following reviews can be accessed online only by an individual who has a current library card through this address.

Black is Brown is Tan.
Review by Hazel Rochman.
Booklist, April 15, 2002 v98 i16 p1405(1).

"With the recent death of beloved children's author Virginia Hamilton, this newly illustrated version of her husband's 1973 poem is especially moving with its lyrical celebration of an interracial family like their own…"

Daring Dog and Captain Cat.
Review by Annie Ayres.
Booklist, Oct 1, 2001 v98 i3 p322

"In his 'shaped speech' writing style -- the text is laid out like a poem, and words are run together or broken apart for dramatic effect - Adoff's tale about nighttime feats of high adventure and derring-do is told…"

The Return of Rex and Ethel.
Publishers Weekly, May 15, 2000 v247 i20 p118.

"Next-door neighbors Pepper and Belle have been best friends 'all of their long-legged lives'; their dogs Rex and Ethel have also been friends 'all of their short-legged lives.' But when both Rex and Ethel succumb to old age on the same summer day, the grieving girls become more aware of other animals that have been killed, injured or abandoned. The girls soon rally family members and neighbors to help transform Rex and Ethel's doghouses into 'The Rex and Ethel Memorial Rest Stop,' a haven for all creatures in need. Adoff's precious-sounding text seems both glossy and unchildlike…"

Touch the Poem.
Publishers Weekly, April 17, 2000 v247 i16 p80.

Adoff and Desimini (Love Letters) salute the senses, especially touch, in this well-balanced collaboration. Written in Adoff's familiar "shaped speech" style, the initial title…"

Malcolm X.
Reviewed by Hazel Rochman.
Booklist, Feb 15, 2000 v96 i12 p1103

"Adoff's strong, clear text, first published in 1970, is reissued here as a chapter book, with new black-and-white illustrations by Rudy Guiterrez (one in each chapter) that reflect the intense drama, from Malcolm's childhood to his years as leader and his tragic…"

I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by African Americans.
Reviews by Hazel Rochman.
Booklist, Feb 15, 1997 v93 n12 p1013(1).

"Nearly 30 years after poet and anthologist Adoff first published his classic core collection of black poet, this new edition has been expanded to include 21 additional poets, 10 of them women. In a celebratory afterword, Adoff remembers how he collected those first poems into a book in 1968 so that he could…"

Love Letters.
Publishers Weekly, Dec 2, 1996 v243 n49 p59(3)

"Not just the run-of-the-mill Valentine's Day sentiments find expression in 20 poems, styled as anonymous notes. Each epistle begins with a 'Dear ---' salutation; Adoff (Slow Dance Heart Break Blues) fills in the blank with terms…"

Slow Dance Heartbreak Blues.
Review by Susan Dove Lempke.
Booklist, Dec 15, 1995 v92 n8 p694(1).

Adoff addresses his poetry to modern, urban teens in a gritty, hip-hop style. He manages to create poetry from the universal concerns of…"

Street Music: City Poems.
Review by Nancy Vasilakis.
The Horn Book Magazine, May-June 1995 v71 n3 p337(2).

"Graceful, stylized forms fill the pages with pattern and texture against vibrant background colors, while the poems, with their correlating textural rhythms, take us through…"

My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry.
The Horn Book Magazine, Jan-Feb 1995 v71 n1 p81(1).

"A new edition of a book first published in 1974. Young and old, the voices of African-American poets speak in tones ranging from joy to anger to melancholy. Although the focus is on being African American, many of the concerns expressed are…"

Street Music: City Poems.
Publishers Weekly, Dec 19, 1994 v241 n51 p54(1).

"Like beatnik scenes from '50s Hollywood movies, the poems in this self-consciously hip collection strain to be stylish and modern. Adoff (All the Colors of the Race, Sports Pages) loads his writing with…"

In for Winter, Out for Spring.
Review by Diane Roback and Richard Donahue.
Publishers Weekly, Feb 8, 1991 v238 n8 p58(1).

"This warm, rich picture book about the changing seasons celebrates the comforts of home and family… In the course of the year, the African-American girl enjoys the first snowfall, helps her father plant trees…"

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