Friday, June 27, 2008

Poetry Friday: Twelve Rounds to Glory

Candlewick Press, 2007

This book is for upper middle grade readers and young adult readers. But the layout of the book is like a picture book. It’s obviously not a picture book because of the length and the content. It is intended for older readers.

This is a biography written in verse. The book is divided into twelve chapters, or rounds. I was truly amazed at what a rhyming wizard Smith is. He has the poems rhyme, but they don’t appear sing-songy or cutesy. We learn much about Muhammad Ali through Smith’s verse. The dust jacket says that it was inspired by rap. It’s also written in second person almost like the author is talking directly to Ali about himself.

Bryan Collier has such a distinct style of illustrating. I enjoyed seeing the poems illustrated in full color. Many of the biographies in verse that I have read in the past weren’t illustrated in full color, so Collier’s illustrations added another dimension.

Smith writes about Ali’s fight with Joe Frazier:

You have ascended the mountaintop
and must now reach its peak;
your body is tired
but your spirit is not weak.
Your rubbery legs
carry you to meet Joe,
but your weighted-down fists
manage to strike blow
after blow
after blow
after blow
to your opponent…”

This book won the Coretta Scott King Honor Award in 2008.

Hear Smith read some of his poems here.

1 comment:

Jennie said...

I didn't get around to reading this during award season, but now I'll have to check it out! Thanks!