A Kick in the Head | Class #5, 2015

A Kick in the Head

This is one of those books for kids that tends to be an eye-opener for most adults, too. Who knew there were this many poetry forms out there?! Notice how the book could be enjoyed by just reading the poems. OR, if you want to learn more, you can see what the form is and […]

National Poetry Month

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Florian, Douglas Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles Gr. K–3     154 pp.     Dial Readers browse through “Poem Depot’s” eleven “aisles” (chapters) with names like “Chortles & Chuckles” and “Tons of Puns.” Many of the pieces are four to ten lines long, easily memorized by the audience, who will enjoy the funny punch lines. Florian uses thick, […]

Review of Won Ton and Chopstick

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Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw; illus. by Eugene Yelchin Primary   Holt   40 pp. 3/15   978-0-8050-9987-4   $17.99   g In this sequel to Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (rev. 3/11), the cautious kitty has another reason to be worried: an adorable new puppy. Won […]

Review of Harlem Hellfighters


Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis; 
illus. by Gary Kelley Intermediate, Middle School   Creative Editions   32 pp. 9/14   978-1-56846-246-2   $18.99 The story of the 15th New York National Guard, or the “Harlem Hellfighters,” an all-black regiment that joined the Great War in its final year, is a revealing lens through which to view that conflict. […]

Review of Winter Bees

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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Rick Allen Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-547-90650-8    $17.99 In winter, bees (“we are nothing on our own”) keep their precious queen warm by massing together into a “sizzling ball.” Hibernating garter snakes, safe in a cave, “’round each other twist […]

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems

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Before we start chatting about specific 2014 picture books, take a moment to read the Caldecott criteria. They’re posted over there on the right, but I will help you find the important parts. Here they are, in part: In identifying a “distinguished American picture book for children,” defined as illustration, committee members need to consider: […]

Review of Poisoned Apples

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Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann; 
photos by various artists High School    Greenwillow    106 pp. 10/14    978-0-06-228957-5    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-228959-9    $9.99 For this poet, there is no dividing line between fairy tales and reality: “You can lose your way anywhere,” claims the poem with which she begins this collection […]

Five questions for Christine Heppermann

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Poet Christine Heppermann is a young adult book reviewer, a backyard chicken enthusiast, and the author of several nonfiction books for children and young adults. With her first YA poetry collection, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty (Greenwillow, 14 years and up), Heppermann reveals herself to be a thoughtfully astute observer of — and […]

Review of Hi, Koo!

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Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    32 pp. 3/14    978-0-545-16668-3    $17.99 Twenty-six haiku are presented by young panda Koo, whom fans of Muth’s Zen Ties will recognize as the haiku-spouting nephew of Stillwater, the Zen Buddhist panda from Zen Shorts and Zen Ghosts. Here, […]

Books that feature poets

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy

Recently some friends of mine from Brookline High — Mary Burchenal and Ric Calleja — were interviewed in the Boston Globe about whether poetry is starting to disappear from schools. I don’t really know, but I sure hope not. In lots of classrooms I visit, poetry is certainly a part of the curriculum. But I […]