LEAP INTO POETRY

MORE ABCS OF POETRY

A combination poetry book, instruction manual, and collection of bug facts is the latest companion to Harley’s Fly with Poetry (not reviewed). For each letter of the alphabet, a bug poem and an illustration demonstrate a different type of poetic form, which also happens to start with the same letter. From the well-known alliteration and epitaph, to the obscure univocalic verse or the visual rhyme, this covers a wide range of both simple and difficult poetic forms. However, the strict form of many of the types presented here makes them inherently difficult to read. For example, the purseweb spider’s palindrome: “Spider spots evil: alive! Stops. Redips / eye. Radar-eye / sees / raw and tangy gnat. DNA war!” At the end, there’s a short listing (2-5 lines) of interesting facts about each of the insects. Several of Harley’s colored-pencil drawings humorously anthropomorphize the insects to illustrate a poem that will tickle the funny bone. A relative brings flowers to a grave in the epitaph: “Here lies an earwig who didn’t hear / the predator that came too near.” Others show beautiful natural settings. Poetry buffs and teachers will enjoy the varied types of poetry, kids, the humorous poems, but otherwise this is a more of a stumble than a leap. (Poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56397-673-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2001

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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