When a young girl finds some poems in the attic, she starts to read them and learns about her mother when she was the young girl's age. Told in side-by-side poetry fashion. The poems are meant to be read together and flow as one idea, but the author doesn't quite pull it off. The jump between mother and daughter is confusing and some of the poems don't quite convey their message. In general, I probably wouldn't recommend this book.
This is the story of a young girl who discovers a box of poems in her grandma's attic. The poems act as a journal of sorts, written by her mother when she was growing up. Reading the poems introduces the girl to the many interesting places her mother lived because of her father's military career. It also helps her feel close to her mother because she's seeing the world through her eyes. Inspired by her mother's poetic impressions, the young girl decides to write her own reflective poetry in response.
Poems in the Attic alternates between two poetic forms: tanka for the mother's poems and free verse for the daughter's. The poems are paired on each two-page spread and complemented beautifully by Elizabeth Zunon's vibrant paint and collage illustrations. Overall, the effect is warm and inviting, and, in the words of the School Library Journal:
Sweet and accessible but never simplistic, this collection captures the experience of a military childhood with graceful sophistication.
At the back of the book, you'll find an author's note, a list of the eleven U.S. Air Force bases where the poems are set, a description of the free verse and tanka forms, and an invitation to the reader to write their own.
My 7 year old daughter checked this out of the library, and liked it so much that she begged me to read it too. The illustrations are lovely. My daughter loved seeing the mother grow up through the story, and I think it helped with the concept of adults having once been children too and having their own lives outside of being parents. We just finished a homeschool poetry unit and I appreciated the discussion at the end of the book of the types of poetry featured. Finally, as a former army brat, this is a great way to help my children understand how I grew up.