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