PIZZA, PIGS, AND POETRY

HOW TO WRITE A POEM

For readers fond of Prelutsky’s style, this volume offers both pointers on how to write similarly silly verse and just what inspired him to do so in the first place. Though some children may find his reminiscences mysterious—after all, his childhood was quite a while back and kids today might not understand just how playing catch with a meatball could ever seem like fun—the connections between his memories and poems are clearly drawn. Prelutsky begins each section with a brief story, then presents a poem or two inspired by the memory or experience; a writing tip that relates to the poem(s) follows. The tips are fairly unremarkable (for example, write about your own experiences or always carry a notebook) and occasionally repetitious. Small black-and-white illustrations and borders decorate some of the pages. While Prelutsky’s poetry is generally playful and appealing, the decision to deconstruct it reveals a certain sameness to the works included here that may make emulating his style easier but may also detract from the reader’s appreciation of same. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-143449-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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AN EGRET’S DAY

Poetry and short informative paragraphs combine to celebrate both the elegance and the natural history of the American egret. Haiku, free verse, rhyming couplets and even a limerick are just some of the forms Yolen masterfully uses to engage readers on both aesthetic and scientific levels. Gorgeous photography completes this carefully designed literary science piece with scenes of the egret’s daily life. Stemple captures the egret’s movements as the light of each part of the day, from the yellow-orange glow of sunrise to midday pink to late afternoon sunset blue to evening purple, is reflected on its snow-white feathers. Both the poetry and the brief fact-filled vignettes explain how egrets walk, eat, fly and preen and how their plumes, so lace-like, were once coveted for decorating clothes and hats. A final poem muses on the future of this great wading bird in a country filled with polluted wetlands. A stunning combination of scientific and ecological knowledge offered through a graceful fusion of lyrical and visual media. (Informational picture book/poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-650-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2009

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THE BUG IN TEACHER'S COFFEE

AND OTHER SCHOOL POEMS

PLB 0-06-027940-0 Dakos’s collection of 23 poems from the perspective of items found at school satisfies the I Can Read requirements of simplicity and word repetition, but may not lure beginning readers back for a second time. The material is uninspiring: The school’s front door says, “Keep me shut,/I have the flu,/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Keep me shut,/I have the flu.” A book sings “Happy Birthday” to a ruler, then sings “Happy Unbirthday” when the ruler says that it is not its birthday. Also appearing are a couple of clever items—one on a kidnapped pencil and another on a comb pulling hazardous duty—along with some typographic elements that amiably convey the idea that words are malleable; Reed’s illustrations possess geniality and character, making some inanimate objects very personable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027939-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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