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A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms Paperback – Mar 10 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (March 10 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763641324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763641320
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 0.6 x 24.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #260,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From School Library Journal

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 4-6. The creators of A Poke in the I (2001) offer another winning, picture-book poetry collaboration. Here, each poem represents a different poetic form, from the familiar to the more obscure. The excellent selection easily mixes works by Shakespeare and William Blake with entries from contemporary poets for youth, including Janeczko. Once again, Raschka's high-spirited, spare torn-paper-and-paint collages ingeniously broaden the poems' wide-ranging emotional tones. A playful, animal-shaped quilt of patterned paper illustrates Ogden Nash's silly couplet "The Mule," while an elegant flurry of torn paper pieces makes a powerful accompaniment to Georgia Heard's heartbreaking poem, "The Paper Trail," about lives lost on 9/11. Clear, very brief explanations of poetic forms (in puzzlingly tiny print) accompany each entry; a fine introduction and appended notes offer further information, as do Raschka's whimsical visual clues, such as the rows of tulips representing the syllables in a haiku. Look elsewhere for lengthy explanations of meter and rhyme. This is the introduction that will ignite enthusiasm. The airy spaces between the words and images will invite readers to find their own responses to the poems and encourage their interest in the underlying rules, which, Janeczko says, "make poetry--like sports--more fun." Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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By Disatisfied on Nov. 20 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent teaching resource. This came in perfectly new condition.
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By Amy Mitton on March 14 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book. From the illustrations to the content of the book, I loved every part of it. If you are looking for a book to teach poetry or just a great book on various poems you have found the right book to buy. Creative, fun, and delightful, this book is great for all ages.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
IF YOU GIVE ONE CHILDREN'S BOOK, LET THIS BE IT ! March 18 2005
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you give a child but one book this year let it be "A Kick In The Head," an eye-popping introduction to poetic forms. Now, don't be put off by the term "poetic forms," the examples win both young readers and adults. Who can resist Ogden Nash's "In the world of mules, there are no rules."? (A couplet, of course).

Poet and teacher Paul B. Janeczko has included 29 poetic forms from haiku to a sonnet to an elegy. All are so thoughtfully chosen that one cannot suppress a smile or a catch in the throat. Among the authors represented are Shakespeare, Robert Service, Gary Soto, Georgia Heard, Richard Wilbur, the author himself, and, of course, everyone's favorite - anonymous.

Among these pleasurable pages readers may learn why there are 17 syllables in a haiku, and 14 lines in a sonnet. Closing pages hold further notes on the various forms. An excellent suggestion from the author is to first read the poem, then read the explanatory note at the bottom of the page, next read the poem again to see if you can detect how it follows the stated form.

Fairly bursting from the pages are Chris Raschka's watercolor, ink, and torn paper illustrations. Collage-like in appearance they capture the eye and couple perfectly with each poem.

"A Kick In the Head" is that rarity - a book to be enjoyed by both adults and children, and a joy to return to again and again.

- Gail Cooke
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Quite a kick April 13 2006
By E. R. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Every year Poetry Month comes along and every year there are children's librarians like myself who shudder at its approach. Poetry. It's not something that every person in the world is going to appreciate right off the bat. So, if you're like myself, you get out a bunch of poetry books, put them in an area labeled "POETRY MONTH SELECTIONS" and then desperately search the internet for further poetry-related activities you can hold in your branch. This year I decided I'd try to do some poetry with the homeschooler bookgroup I run. What I really wanted was to show the kids lots of books with different kinds of poetic styles in them. A collection of poetic forms, if you will. I couldn't find anything perfect, however, so I just chalked it up to there being too few useful poetry books for kids in this world. Then I attended the Children's Book Committee annual breakfast at the Bank Street College of Education. And the winner of the 2005 Claudia Lewis Award, as it happened, was "A Kick In the Head", as selected by Paul B. Janeczko. I was curious so I picked it up. And right then and there it hit me that THIS was the book I'd been so desperately searching for all this time. It's a truly interesting collection of poetic forms done in such a way that kids will not only understand them, but want to write some of their own. After I recovered from the shock I returned to my library and sure enough, lo and behold, there was the book sitting perkily on my shelf where it had always been. So parents, educators, and librarians, heed my warning. Discover "A Kick In the Head" for your own Poetry Months before it's too late. Don't make the same mistake I did.

The book contains twenty-nine different poetic forms. Everything from your basic haikus and limericks to triolets, aubades, and pantoums. There are blues poems and clerihews, and even the rare riddle poem or two. Janeczko has culled the most amusing and child-friendly versions of these forms possible, and it works. For example, take the villanelle. You might not think it lends itself naturally to a child's reading, but then you see how cleverly Joan Bransfield Graham has created, "Is There a Villain In Your Villanelle?". And into this lively jumble we throw Chris Raschka's brightly colored mixed-media extravaganza. The result is a high-energy introduction to poetry in all its wild and wooly forms. A lovely amalgamation to say the least.

None of this is to say that there wasn't an odd choice or two. For the "found poem", Janeczko reprints Georgia Heard's, "The Paper Trail". The poem is a beautiful list of different kinds of writing, and it soon becomes clear that these are the scraps of paper and floated to the ground when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. No mention of 9/11 is ever made, but you'd have to be pretty dense not to get the St. Paul's Cathedral reference. Fans of that old Cat Stevens song, "Morning Has Broken", will see it listed under the "aubade" section. And I, for one, had no idea that poem/song was written originally by classic children's author Eleanor Farjeon. Go figure.

I'm not normally a Raschka fan, by the way. Something about his images, I find off-putting. But I did enjoy a lot of what the artist decided to do here. For the "senryu" poem, for example, he was able to construct a month old cheese sandwich using only paper fibers of various orange, yellow, green (bleck!), and cream-colored shades. And if you think he had an easy job of this book then YOU try making an illustration for Shakespeare's "Sonnet Number Twelve". Even worse, make a picture for a poem imitating "Sonnet Number Twelve". It's doubly hard. So a tip of the hat to Raschka's efforts.

Now people are going to wonder what ages to hand this book to. I say, all. Obviously some of the poems, like the sonnets, aren't going to charm very small ones. But kids who like silly limericks or tankas that begin with words like, "Fish guts" will find their favorites in this selection. As for older kids, this book is useful well into high school. At that point the students will start appreciating the difficulty behind some of the more elaborate poems. A lovely addition to every library and I dare say a necessary one. No poetry section is complete without this book.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
*JANECZKO WILL SHAKE YOU OUT OF YOUR DOLDRUMS* Feb. 23 2006
By mcHaiku - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Paul Janeczko compiled this "Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms" with wonderful "asides" and editorial descriptions. It is definitely not "everyday-ish" /or/ for children only. The book is an absolute delight - and an eye-opener. OR, perhaps I should say *ear-opener* because all the sounds of these examples make music /or/ nonsense /or/ possibly dissonance. If you are, or have ever been an editor, read the epitaph on p.40!

I've asked myself why this wasn't an alternate text in English Lit 101. (Obviously because it wasn't published that long ago.) Janeczko introduces us to twenty-nine forms of poetry, and divulges that poets don't always follow the rules. There are some really tricky forms (see ROUNDEL p. 22 & DOUBLE DACTYL p.25). The latter has an outstanding example by John Hollander, especially appropriate in February, the month of Presidential obeisance. It reveals that our 23rd President, a Hoosier :~) "didn't do much"? This is a book of lots & lots of smiles that call for sharing. The wildly unrestrained, splashy colors combine with collage for illustrations that are great fun. Artist Chris Raschka also illuminated the 2006 Caldecott medal-winning book. (isbn:076809140)

As a writer of haiku & similar forms, Reviewer mcHAIKU found pages 14 - 18 of special interest. I never encountered haiku, senryu (which the author calls "HAIKU WITH AN ATTITUDE"), tanka or cinquain during my 'deprived' childhood but am happy now to make up for lost time.

"This Book delights me: / It is dandelions puffed, / laughter loudly shared . . ."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful introduction to poetry June 10 2007
By Melissa K. Benson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for the children's section of my library. My niece loves it! It has sparked her interest in poetry so much that she is not only writing her own using the rules taught in the book for each form but she is also seeking out forms not included in the book! She has discovered that Tyger Tyger by William Blake is her favorite poem. I could not be more pleased with this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Little Disappointed Nov. 10 2009
By teacher person - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a little disappointed in this book. I had planned on using it in my classroom during a poetry study, but the subject matter of many of the poems was over the students heads. I would not recommend this book to primary teachers. Intermediate teachers might have more success with it.


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