A Kick in the Head

Front Cover
Paul B. Janeczko
Candlewick Press, 2005 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 61 pages
Grade 3-9-Following on the heels of their delightful introduction to concrete poetry, A Poke in the I (Candlewick, 2001), Janeczko and Raschka now join forces to explore poetic forms. An introduction presents an easy-to-swallow rationale for the many rules to follow, likening the restrictions to those found in sports: in both cases, rules challenge the players to excel in spite of limits. The repertoire then unfolds to showcase 29 forms, one to two poems per spread, building from a couplet, tercet, and quatrain to the less familiar and more complex persona poem, ballad, and pantoum. The selections are accessible without being simplistic; they span an emotional range from the tongue-in-cheek humor of J. Patrick Lewis's "Epitaph for Pinocchio" to Rebecca Kai Dotlich's moving "Whispers to the [Vietnam] Wall." Each page is a tour de force of design, the pace and placement of art and text perfectly synchronized. Raschka's characters and abstractions emerge from torn layers of fuzzy rice paper, intricately patterned Japanese designs, and solids, decorated and defined by quirky ink-and-watercolor lines. The expansive white background provides continuity and contrast to the colorful parade. The name of each form resides in the upper corner of the page, accompanied by a wry visual. A definition (in an unobtrusive smaller font) borders the bottom; more detail on each form is provided in endnotes. Readers will have the good fortune to experience poetry as art, game, joke, list, song, story, statement, question, memory. A primer like no other.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Jessie32 - LibraryThing

I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't so familiar with all the different poetry types. The pictures made the poems come alive and the layout of the book was very interesting. It is a good layout for how to write your own poem. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ajfurman - LibraryThing

This book was very fun and interesting for me to read because the poems it contains are creative and numerous. There are so many types of poems in this book that I had no idea existed. For instance ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Paul B. Janeczko (1945-2019) was a poet and teacher who edited numerous award-winning poetry anthologies for young people, including A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, A Foot in the Mouth, and The Death of the Hat, all of which were illustrated by Chris Raschka; Firefly July, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; and The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems, illustrated by Richard Jones. He also wrote Worlds Afire; Requiem: Poems of the Terezín Ghetto; Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing; Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War; The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from Invisible Ink to CIA Moles, a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults; and Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis.

Chris Raschka is the illustrator of more than twenty highly praised books for children, including Yo! Yes?, a Caldecott Honor Book; Charlie Parker Played Be Bop; I Pledge Allegiance; A Child's Christmas In Wales; and, of course, A Poke In The I, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book.

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