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IF IT RAINS PANCAKES by Brian P. Cleary Kirkus Star


Haiku and Lantern Poems

From the Poetry Adventures series

by Brian P. Cleary ; illustrated by Andy Rowland

Pub Date: May 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4677-4412-6
Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

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)