IF IT RAINS PANCAKES

HAIKU AND LANTERN POEMS

From the Poetry Adventures series

Wonderfully crafted and illustrated: a delightful, effective primer for budding poets.

An engaging lantern poem and haiku how-to for young readers.

Veteran children’s series author Cleary (Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies: What Are Irregular Plurals? with Brian Gable, 2014, etc.) and British illustrator Rowland team up to launch the new Poetry Adventures series with a picture book demonstrating the great fun to be had with wee poems. While poets typically choose the spare haiku or concrete lantern form to communicate profound reflections on nature, here Cleary turns poetic convention on its ear by conjuring silly, sometimes-hilarious situations. Whether describing a bodily function, as in “Yummy”—“When something’s so good / you want to taste it again, / that’s what burps are for”—or poking fun at the haiku form itself—“When you’ve written one / without enough syllables, / you add words. Football”—Cleary’s light touch immediately grabs attention. Even the more contemplative lantern poems, so called because the five-line syllabic form’s outline slightly resembles that of a Japanese lantern, are perfectly geared for the young: “Hug: / a gift / that is best / when you return / it.” To further entice readers to write, Cleary provides clear descriptions of the poetics of each form alongside Rowland’s vibrant, brightly hued illustrations that include a nicely ethnically diverse cast of human characters as well as zany aliens and plenty of visual wit.

Wonderfully crafted and illustrated: a delightful, effective primer for budding poets. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-4412-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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WHAT YOU NEED TO BE WARM

No substitute for blankets or shelter, but perhaps a way of securing some warmth for those in need.

Gaiman’s free-verse meditation on coming in from, or at least temporarily fending off, the cold is accompanied by artwork from 13 illustrators.

An ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the author put out a social media appeal in 2019 asking people about their memories of warmth; the result is this picture book, whose proceeds will go to the UNHCR. For many refugees and other displaced persons, Gaiman writes, “food and friends, / home, a bed, even a blanket, / become just memories.” Here he gathers images that signify warmth, from waking in a bed “burrowed beneath blankets / and comforters” to simply holding a baked potato or being offered a scarf. Using palettes limited to black and the warm orange in which most of the text is printed, an international slate of illustrators give these images visual form, and 12 of the 13 add comments about their intentions or responses. The war in Ukraine is on the minds of Pam Smy and Bagram Ibatoulline, while Majid Adin recalls his time as a refugee in France’s “Calais jungle” camp. “You have the right to be here,” the poet concludes, which may give some comfort to those facing the cold winds of public opinion in too many of the places where refugees fetch up. The characters depicted are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

No substitute for blankets or shelter, but perhaps a way of securing some warmth for those in need. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063358089

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY

From the Brown Bear Wood series

A tour de force of interactive two-dimensional nature.

Four seasons’ worth of poetic exploration into the bustling woods.

Piercey presents here 16 poems containing tightly rhymed quatrains inviting young readers to follow Bear out of the confines of their homes and into the forest from spring through winter. Arranged in double-page spreads, Hartas’ sumptuously action-packed forest scenes are rife with so much fauna and flora that Piercey provides legends pointing readers toward “what to spot” on each spread. Bear narrates: “My woodland’s full of animals, / of every different kind. / So shall we stay here for a while / and see what we can find?” (A bit distractingly, some words are set in a faux handwriting typeface.) Items to find include such delights as a “baby chipmunk in a hammock” or “two birds returning from their winter break”—delicately drawn with tiny suitcases in their claws. In each kid-styled Breughel-like tableau, creatures are busy doing something—building nests, getting ready for school, or celebrating Bunny’s birthday; even Bear’s off playing hide-and-seek with mice. In summer, some go for swimming lessons while others stage a play. Autumn’s chill starts to wind down the fun, as trees turn “orange, scarlet, gold, / each leaf a tongue of flame”—perfect for inspiring art class. In Hartas’ gifted hands, Piercey’s thriving woodland society celebrates all the joys of communing with the elements and one another. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 29.9% of actual size.)

A tour de force of interactive two-dimensional nature. (nature notes, further resources) (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5158-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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