Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Maya
Laughing Tomatoes, and Other
Spring Poems - Jitomates risuenos, y otros poemas
Children's Book Press, 1997.
"A poem makes us see everything for the first
time." Francisco Alarcón's epigraph to
his vibrant picture book collection of twenty original
poems holds the promise of discovery, and young readers
will not be disappointed at what they find - poems
that reminisce, delight and surprise.
Some of the poems, like "Other Voices,"
"Strawberries" and "Chile," are
a mere handful of words, drops of water forming a
small pool that reflects everyday items and occurrences
in new and exciting ways. Other poems, like "My
Grandmother's Songs," are a cascade of memories
and observations as seen through the poet's passionate
and exacting eye ("My grandmother's songs / ...
consoling / the chairs placed / upside down / delighting
/ the family portraits / on the walls"). Some
of the poems were written originally in Spanish and
others in English.
All are presented in both languages and paired with
Maya Christina Gonzalez's colorful artwork - imaginative,
interpretive paintings that will conjure up a laugh,
a smile, a moment (or more) of contemplation, just
as the poems do.