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A KICK IN THE HEAD by Paul B. Janeczko Kirkus Star


An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms

edited by Paul B. Janeczko & illustrated by Chris Raschka

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7636-0662-6
Publisher: Candlewick

“Why, you may ask, does a poem have rules?” asks Janeczko in his introduction; “The answer is: rules make the writing of a poem more challenging, more exciting.” He proceeds to present 29 different poetic types, from the mundane couplet and the deceptively easy haiku to the villanelle, epitaph and pantoum. Each poem, collected from both writers for children and the Old Masters (Lear and Shakespeare), is accompanied by a short explanation (longer explanations appear in the backmatter) and a characteristically playful watercolor, ink, and collage illustration from Raschka (who also keys icons to each poem type). Gary Soto’s “Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoes” is elegantly flanked by two beat-up sneakers elevated on ornate pedestals; Joan Bransfield Graham’s “Is There a Villain in Your Villanelle?” appears with furtive, trench-coated figures sneaking on and off the page. A beautiful, beautifully clear celebration of the discipline of poetry—and the possibilities offered by that discipline—this offering will find use both in the hands of eager poets and on the reference shelf. (Picture book/poetry. 8+)