Book Examination Site: Book of the Week for 04/11/05

A KICK IN THE HEAD,
AN EVERYDAY GUIDE TO POETIC FORMS

Selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
61p.
Candlewick Press

What a gem of a book! Janeczko has done it again. He has selected 29 different poems representing 29 different poetic forms. The name of the form with a small Raschka symbol appears in the top corner of each page. A brief definition appears in small font near the bottom. The poem itself is set against a white background while wonderful torn paper and watercolor illustrations by Chris Raschka accompany each. Example:

Triolet (an eight-line poem in which line 1 repeats as lines 4 and 7 and line 2 repeats as line 8. The rhyme scheme is abaaabab)

"The Cow's Complaint"
by Alice Schertle
How unkind to keep me here
When, over there, the grass is greener.
Tender blades - so far, so near -
How unkind to keep me here!
Through this fence they make me peer
As sweeter stems; what could be meaner?
How unkind to keep me here
When, over there, the grass is greener.

The poems chosen vary from silly limericks by Edward Lear to a sonnet from Shakespeare. Poets are classic and modern and all very accessible. Janeczko's selections are always on target.

The author includes an introduction explaining why there are poetry rules, likening them to rules in sports. End notes provide additional information on each of the poetic forms. I would have liked an index, both of the poems and the poets. One can only search by poetic form as listed in the table of contents. That weakness does not detract from the rich resource this will be for teachers and students.

Other 2005 books of poetry in BES:

RED HOT SALSA, BILINGUAL POEMS ON BEING YOUNG AND LATINO IN THE UNITED STATES edited by Lori Marie Carlson (Henry Holt)
DAYS TO CELEBRATE, A FULLYEAR OF POETRY, PEOPLE, HOLIDAYS, HISTORY, FASCINATING FACTS, AND MORE written and edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn (Greenwillow)
IF NOT FOR THE CAT, POEMS by Jack Prelutsky, paintings by Red Rand (Greenwillow)



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