PPBF: A Kick in the Head

Author: Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2005
Age Level: 8 and up
Themes: poetic forms
Opening: Tercet, by Joan Bransfield Graham
Kitchen crickets make a din,
sending taunts to chilly kin,
“You’re outside, but we got in.”
Summary: (subtitle) An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms; In this splendid and playful volume — second of a trilogy — an acclaimed creative team presents examples of twenty-nine poetic forms, demonstrating not only the (sometimes bendable) rules of poetry, but also the spirit that brings these forms to life. Featuring poems from the likes of Eleanor Farjeon (aubade), X. J. Kennedy (elegy), Ogden Nash (couplet), Liz Rosenberg (pantoum), and William Shakespeare, the sonnet king himself. A Kick in the Head perfectly illustrates Robert Frost’s maxim that poetry without rules is like a tennis match without a net.
Why I like this book: All the poems are such fun, but what a great way to learn about all the forms – and feel inspired to write your own! Read it now and you’ll be ready for…next Valentine’s Day!
Resources/Activities: read more books on poems like: A Poke in the I, and A Foot in  the Mouth, the other two in the trilogy; or great for boys: Good Sports, poems by Jack Prelutsky, illustrations by Chris Raschka; Alfred A. Knopf, 2007 – see the illustration spread from Good Sports below; AND WRITE POETRY!


For more PPBF picks, go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE

29 thoughts on “PPBF: A Kick in the Head

  1. Oh, Julie – perhaps there is hope for me to learn….I love poetry (like Romeo & Juliet…abridged) and admire the creativity and diligence needed to accomplish a successful poem. And I like the illustrations – they are as poetic as yours. Thank you for calling this one to our attention.


  2. First off, how can you not love a book with this title? 🙂 Second, what a great idea for a book! I could learn a ton form this – forge the kids 🙂 I’m definitely going to have to read this one! Thanks so much for adding it to our list. I think it would be so fun and inspiring for kids – a great way to wade into poetry writing!


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