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Follow the links to our archive of Thorsten's print interviews and articles about the characters he's portrayed.

Above: On the cover of the June 26, 2007 issue of Soap Opera Digest.

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Review: A Solid Wheel Of Colored Ribbons

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Stigler, Oklahoma, News Sentinel

By Pennie Embry, Published August 13, 2009

Poetry is a wonderful tool for teaching children about the power of language. Its rhythms and patterns can move budding readers from the world of picture books to a universe of ideas brought to life with words.

New children's books set to verse, many of them well-reviewed, crop up on publishers' lists each month. But fresh, engaging collections of poetry for children are a rare find, and “A Solid Wheel of Colored Ribbons” is one such treasure. The 27 poems written by Thorsten Kaye and illustrated by Tami Evans Foster range from tender to downright funny. Across the pages, beds become sailboats, lizards cook breakfast and a duck is the most popular kid in town. 

Best known for his work as a television actor, this is not Kaye's first book of poetry, although it is his first  for children. The poems began as stories he made up to entertain his young daughters and evolved into the beautiful hardcover edition released this spring.

There is only one word for Foster's pen and ink illustrations –– perfect. The airy black and white drawings, enhanced with splashes of color, capture the eye, pulling the reader into the heart of each poem. In some instances, such as “Self-Portrait,” the image (a fat, smiling yellow crayon)  and poem (a single, simple stanza) are so intertwined, both in idea and on the page, it is impossible to imagine one without the other.

Kaye's rhyming schemes are simple and old-fashioned in the best sense, but his themes are contemporary. There is something here for every family member who picks up the book. “My Space” will resonate with  tiny, future explorers who leave the library with armloads of books about monkeys and jungles or planets and astronauts. For the child who wonders why she must bathe or comb her hair when Daddy gets to sit on the couch in his grungy football jersey for days, and for moms everywhere who fight this battle during football season, hockey season, baseball season or whatever season, the lively “Why Mom?” is sure to delight.

Many of the poems hold lessons, either hidden or obvious, but none of them are moralizing. They touch on things like dreaded vegetables, the whisper thin boundary between children's dream lives and reality, and the sudden change from the world of only child to that of big sister or brother. 

Not all of the verses are playful, however. “Ava,” reminiscent of O'Henry's short story “The Last Leaf,” delicately traces a child's battle with cancer, while “Departures” paints the abiding nature of loss. These two poems reflect one of the book's most important missions: to raise money for various pediatric cancer charities. Ava is not imagined. She was the friend of Kaye's oldest daughter when both were toddlers, and one day Ava was diagnosed with cancer. She got better, and then she got worse, and then she died, said Kaye. The book is dedicated to “all the young boys and girls who had to master bravery before perfecting silliness.”

Copies of the book have been donated to the Stigler-Haskell County Public Library and the Eufaula Memorial Library. The book can be purchased by visiting and selecting the link to Kaye's Web site.

From yellow curls, to old brown shoes, to “whys?” and a delightfully clever and definitely sly set of verses about O'Malley the cat, “A Solid Wheel of Colored Ribbons” shines, and is sure to find a place in the hearts of children young and old. Here's hoping it finds a place on library shelves –– public or private, large or small –– everywhere.