I do wonder what Langston Hughes would have thought of Ashley Bryan illustrating his poems. I would assume that he would enjoy the art as much as I do. In the signature style of Bryan, he gives life to poems with vibrant, powerful colors. The lines flow and are complimentary to the text of Hughes. The two art forms are paired nicely. Bryan has both a modern and classic feel to his work. And the words of Hughes still speak to us all these years later.
I know very little of Hughes works. Therefore, I wonder if the poems chosen are the full poem or snippets of an original poem. This allows for a great opportunity for the adult reader to go on and find other books of Langston Hughes poetry. If you are reading aloud, one or two poems at a time might be a nice way to go. Though, you could sit and read in one sitting.
If the poems are not complete, what has been used are a treat to the eye as well as the ear. Mermaids, sailors and creatures of the sea flow together effortlessly. The cut-paper collage work of Bryan help make the slightly more complex themes and ideas all-ages friendly. The poem of the sailor is probably one of my favorites yet, I cannot pick a favorite illustration.
Bring this into your classroom, give to your child or grandchild or get it for yourself. There is no wrong person to be the owner of the gem.