KEEP A POCKET IN YOUR POEM

CLASSIC POEMS AND PLAYFUL PARODIES

A dozen classic poems, with Lewis’ playful revisions on the opposite pages.

The title poem is a reworking of Beatrice Schenk de Regniers’ “Keep a Poem in Your Pocket,” which touts the importance of imagination. The revision exalts the value of memories triggered by little objects—“red hawk feather, / silver penny, pinkie ring”—found in a pocket. Langston Hughes’ “Winter Sweetness” describes a snow-covered house as made of sugar. The revision, “Winter Warmth,” compares a book to a cup of hot cocoa on a frigid day. An excerpt from Jack Prelutsky’s “The Goblin” begins, “There’s a goblin as green / As a goblin can be.” Lewis begins “The Ogre” this way: “There’s an ogre as wide / As a flatbed truck.” He counters Robert Louis Stevenson’s two-line “Happy Thought” with a “Sleepy Thought”; David McCord’s “This is My Rock” becomes “This is My Tree.” Perhaps the cleverest revamping is that of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” In Lewis’ hands it becomes “Stopping by Fridge on a Hungry Evening.” (Said refrigerator is full of algae and mold and rotting food.) Lewis’ poems are a mixed bag—some come off poorly by comparison to their originals—but the book could provide wonderful inspiration for young would-be poets. Wright’s illustrations, in acrylic paint and ink on canvas, add much color, notably including the multiracial cast of children she depicts.

Clever. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59078-921-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Both playful and enlightening, period.

A BUNCH OF PUNCTUATION

A collection of peppy poems and clever pictures explains different forms of punctuation.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s “A Punctuation Tale” kicks off the proceedings with a punny description of a day full of punctuation; goodnight is “cuddled / in quotation marks.” Ensuing poems discuss the comma, the apostrophe, the dash (“A subdued dude / in tweet and text / he signals what / is coming next”), the colon, the exclamation point, and ellipses. Allan Wolf’s poem about this last is called “…” and begins, “The silent ellipsis… / replaces…words missed.” Prince Redcloud’s “Question Marks” is particularly delightful, with the question “Why?” dancing diagonally down in stair steps. The emphatic answer is a repeated “Because!” Other poems pay tribute to quotation marks, the hyphen, and the period. Michele Kruger explains “The Purpose of Parentheses”: “inside a pair / ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) / of slender curves / we’ll hold your few / inserted words.” The final poem is editor Hopkins’ own, “Lines Written for You to Think About” (inspired by Carl Sandburg), urging young readers to write their own verses employing (what else?) punctuation. The 12 poets included work with a variety of devices and styles for an always-fresh feel. Bloch’s illustrations are delightfully surprising, both illustrating each poem’s key points and playfully riffing on the punctuation itself.

Both playful and enlightening, period. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59078-994-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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This posthumously published bilingual collection will be welcomed by Alarcón’s many admirers.

FAMILY POEMS FOR EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK / POEMAS FAMILIARES PARA CADA DÍA DE LA SEMANA

Set within a loose mythological framework, each poem is partnered with a day of the week, playing with its etymology in both Spanish and English.

Alarcón juxtaposes this classical imagery with a child’s limitless perspective of place. “Thursday / this day is for Jupiter / the largest planet of all / and god of thunder Thor— / like Jupiter and Thor / I feel big and mighty / on Thursday.” Daily ritual and mundane activities take on the patina of legend as time molds the character of what a family is and what it becomes. Equating the distinct characteristics of each day with the uniqueness of each family member, the poems embrace the strength of individuality while recognizing the power of the whole. “I begin to see / every day as part / of one big family // where every family / member is unique / so worthy and special.” And just as straightforward as Alarcón’s uncomplicated language and style are Gonzalez’s bold, geometric illustrations rendered in watercolor, gouache, and acrylic markers. From Wednesday’s Talavera-inspired rabbit to Saturday’s Huichol-like design, the colorful double-page–spread layouts complement the poems’ simplicity. Recalling the warmth of family gatherings on the sun’s day and the joy of unstructured play on Saturn’s day, each tribute resonates with nostalgia for a time when personal interactions were done face to face.

This posthumously published bilingual collection will be welcomed by Alarcón’s many admirers. (illustrator’s note, introduction) (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-89239-275-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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