A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka

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A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka

Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: An introduction to poetry for children. What could have been worthy but dull is actually fun, vibrant, fascinating, eye-opening, and just the sort of book that every parent will love reading with their children. Kids will soak it up like a sponge, fostering a real understanding and appreciation of poetry. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: March 2009
Publisher: Candlewick
ISBN: 978-0763641320

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As the subtitle says, A Kick In The Head is an everyday guide to poetic forms. It's a perfect primer to couplets, limericks, acrostics, sonnets, haiku and many more. Each form has a brief explanation, an example, and then a more detailed explanation at the back. It's a wonderful educational book for any child (or for any adult who wants to brush up on their basic understanding of poetry).

I'm always a little wary of educational books. There's a risk that they'll be worthy but dull, or even just textbooks to be worked through page by page. A Kick In The Head is nothing of the sort. It's fun, vibrant, fascinating, and it just so happens you'll learn a little from it. There's a palpable thrill from reading it with a child and seeing the ideas clicking into place. They'll want to try out their own simple examples too - not because it's anything like homework, just because it's fun. They'll want to do an acrostic of their name, or a clerihew about their best friend. And who can resist creating a concrete poem about a favourite hobby or object?

Chris Raschka's collages on every page give the book a fresh and funky feel. They meld beautifully with the words - not overshadowing them, but strongly feeding into the mental images that the poems create. The little icons in the corner of each page are cleverly designed to give a visual clue as to the poem's form; it's the little touches like that which make A Kick In The Head the sort of book that you'll treasure, enjoy and refer back to for years to come.

Because it's an anthology, rather than an educational text to be studied, A Kick In The Head is suitable for any age. It's aimed at confident readers, who'll read it with an adult, and leap into the world of poetry from there. However, there's nothing to stop parents reading it to younger children, just to enjoy the rhythms, images and stories. Older children who wouldn't turn their noses up at what appears to be a picture book will also find plenty to enjoy, or even to use as a quick and easy reference guide to help with English lessons. Because of its educational potential, teachers will be able to create many lesson plans around it. Mostly (and most importantly) it's an introduction to just how wonderful poetry can be, and how fascinating it is. Highly highly recommended.

Huge thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech is another excellent introduction to poetry for children. The poems and protest songs in Nobody Gonna Turn Me 'Round by Doreen Rappaport would be a great next step to seeing poetry in action.

Booklists.jpg A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka is in the Top Ten Books About Language.
Buy A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka at Amazon.com.


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Magda said:

I am going to be buying it for Katie!

Keith replied:

Ooh, excellent! She'll love it!