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AFRICAN ACROSTICS by Avis Harley Kirkus Star


A Word in Edgeways

by Avis Harley & photographed by Deborah Noyes

Pub Date: July 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3621-0
Publisher: Candlewick

Acrostic poems inventively highlight the animals of Africa. While some of the acrostics simply spell the name of the animals, others expand the topic of the poem—the rhino’s poem spells out “beauty in the beast,” while the giraffe’s declares them “cloud friends.” Harley keeps things interesting by varying the seriousness of the poems and the rhythm and rhyme schemes. Backmatter includes more about acrostics as a poetic form and short paragraphs of information about each of the featured animals. Noyes’s photographs perfectly encapsulate the poems, the two creating a harmonious whole that is more than the sum of its parts. The kudu, his poem asking how one greets this animal, is shown in close-up, his head tilted as if waiting for an introduction. The fatherly advice of the ostrich is delivered with a straight face, long-lashed eyes looking readers right in the eye. This belongs in every collection—for the poetry, for the photographs, for the information. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)