Writer Matthew Burgess and illustrator Kris
Di Giacomo have captured the playful spirit of E. E. Cummings in this charming
biography for young readers. Burgess reveals how Cummings’s love of nature and
his sense of imagination as a child developed into an exploration of language. The
delightful illustrations blend fittingly with lively displays of text—words and
letters dot the trees, spot tulip petals, hover in clouds, and spout from an
From a young age, Estlin Cummings expressed
his fascination with nature through his poems, which his mother recorded in a
Estlin’s first workspace was his tree house
where he created art and wrote poems.
Quotations weave in and out of the story of
Estlin’s life. We learn more about the poet through the words he spoke, the words of those around
him, through full poems, and poem fragments.
Burgess and Di Giacomo introduce Cummings’s
experimental style in a way that is intriguing and accessible.
Children will be fascinated to see Cummings
as an inventor of words who broke rules and faced criticism.
Readers will discover that despite the
criticism Cummings received, he pursued his dream and went on to become respected and loved for his work as a poet.
Surrounding examples of the poems is the
poetic telling of Cummings’s life—Burgess’s words are as playful as the poet
they describe. Throughout the book, Burgess and Di Giacomo reveal the
interconnectedness of the enormous and the small.
E. E. Cummings is an attractive personality
for children to explore. Young readers are sure to connect with the poet’s
playful approach to expression wonderfully expressed in this book.
Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E.
illustrations by Kris Di Giacomo