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 STOP THAT POEM! by Eric Ode


by Eric Ode ; illustrated by Jieting Chen

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-68464-223-6
Publisher: Kane Miller

Everywhere this kid goes, they create poems about poems.

In the opening scene, a pale-skinned kid with black hair in a pageboy carefully stacks gray rectangles containing single words in a wagon. A brown-skinned kid observes, asking “What are you making?” The answer: “A poem.” Indeed, the sequence of rectangles poetically reads, “then fall like / a warm / spring shower.” As rectangles pile higher in the wagon, a new set of lines forms, this one about a poem that soars like a kite and climbs like a tower. When the wind carries the words like pieces of paper across the landscape to create another poem, this one speaks of poems jumping up, taking flight, climbing higher. Moving from one landscape to the next, the protagonist’s poems pass like snakes through grass, float like toy boats, hang singly like laundry on a line, get carried away by a dog, nest in a tree, and so on. With each new sequence of words, a new poem emerges as the poet and the word wagon visually progress from woods, over hills, and through fields to a village, gradually attracting a diverse collection of children who are advised to “set your poem free” and watch it grow, “row by row, / rhyme by rhyme.” By assembling individual words into poems, the protagonist effectively creates the text, while dynamic, contemporary, stylized illustrations cleverly incorporate the poems into each double-page spread.

An ingenious, inspiring lesson in the crafting of poetry.

(Poetry. 4-8)