My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When we think of doctors, we usually don’t think of poetry, and vice versa: poetry doesn’t typically conjure up images of doctors. We also don’t associate “ordinary” with poetry, and yet, that’s just William Carlos Williams’s style. A River of Words, a biographical picture book, aims to show how William Carlos Williams was able to combine poetry with his medical career, providing for his family and caring for his community while also taking care of his need for solitude and writing about the everyday.
Both author Jen Bryant and illustrator Melissa Sweet show readers how to find poetry everywhere by letting it inform the details of the book. Using poetic verse to combine fact with art, Bryant tells Williams’s story of discovering the power of words, and of the extraordinary poetry of the everyday. Sweet’s mixed media collage illustrations add to the charm of this book, combining newspaper, notebook writing, and simple drawings to create a poetic scrapbook echoing the words on each page. A timeline, bibliography, and notes at the end round out this informational title. Young writers and artists alike will enjoy seeing Williams’s life unfold and his writing and medical career progress as they read.
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