Master punster Cleary and illustrator Rowland again join forces (Something Sure Smells Around Here, 2015, etc.) to explore a light poetic form.
Even before the fourth volume in the Poetry Adventures series gets going, Rowland’s cheeky illustration of an island castaway finding a bottle with jumbled letters spelling “acrostics” in it effectively conveys the message-in-a-bottle thematic sense of this poetic form. Much like a whodunit that starts with a body in the library, the acrostic poem makes no bones about revealing its subject. As Cleary explains, they are arranged so that “the first letter of each line forms a word or words when read vertically,” and then “words or phrases built off that first letter help describe that subject.” The collection’s more successful poems shy away from listing descriptor after descriptor, as in “Yellow” or “Snack Time.” “Teachers” creates an inspiring portrait: “They are the superheroes who show up / Each and every day, not just when some special signal or / Alarm is activated.… / … / Saving more lives than all those cape-wearing showoffs combined.” “Poem” captures the challenge of the form with a joke: “Poppies are red. / Orchids are blue. / Ever rhyme stuff? / Man, it’s really hard.” Throughout, Rowland’s brightly detailed illustrations neatly capture Cleary’s playful tone and whatever pun’s to be had.
Entertaining and spirited, though there's nothing subtle about this wily collection of puzzler poems. (further reading) (Picture book/poetry. 7-11)