Match: Barbie v Keeper
Judge: Naomi Shihab Nye
Nye is a poet, and she starts with allusions to one of my favorite poems from one of my favorite poetry books: Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. Nye’s own language is wonderful: “Languid, overheated/chilled lostness enables focused horizontal absorption into material,” “bravado-spirit,” “Americana historiana,” “a gumbo-rich brew of magical farfetched wishing,” “You would look very long to find an extra word or syllable. This is a gift.”
For me, the gift continues to be reading about why people like books, what it is that they connect with, what they think is important enough to write about.
Nye’s decision (like the other authors before her) shows that a critical review does not mean a negative review. It can mean looking at a book to see what it is about the book that works, and why.