Quaran Team
by Linda Kohler Barnes

"Stockpiling scare goods
Thinking they’re the smart ones."

Using vibrant, nature-themed watercolors and witty haikus, this book explores the Covid-19 quarantine experience. It takes general pandemic experiences, such as hoarding groceries and necessities, and presents them in a humorous manner. Both the poems and the artwork remind readers of the pandemic’s dramatic ups, downs, and in-betweens. A rhino stands as the symbol of self-reliance. A coiled rattlesnake wearing a mask reminds the public about the need for social distancing, and a pair of masked platypuses become the representatives of a resilient generation “born into crisis.” Other creatures, like the yellowjacket, seek “sticky, sweet nectar” and are “frantic to be out.” Meanwhile, the blue-footed booby maintains hope that “one day this will end” and looks toward a brighter future.

This book’s charm and beauty lie in the breathtaking watercolor paintings, which quickly draw readers into its pages. The haikus are witty and inspiring, and they capture small snapshots of the new realities the pandemic created for so many. This book is one that is fitting for readers of all ages. The colorful paintings and the simple haiku create a unique reading experience for young readers, and the haiku offerings especially are a wonderful way to teach young readers about the joys of poetry. For older readers, the collection allows them a two-fold reading and artistic experience. The book is also a unique way for readers to begin exploring and discussing the pandemic’s events and the feelings—positive or negative—they still harbor from the events that reshaped the world and everyone’s lives.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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