Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Poem in your Pocket

Kirkus Reviews starred (November 1, 2014)
Mr. Tiffin is back, just in time for National Poetry Month at school. The third in what's becoming a series about life in Mr. Tiffin's class (The Apple Orchard Riddle, 2013, etc.) celebrates both a poet's school visit and Poem in Your Pocket Day. By the time poet Emmy Crane visits, the children have learned all about metaphor, simile, concrete poetry, haiku and acrostic verse, as well as using a "poet's eye." Almost all the children are excited and ready for the big day, heads full of words and pockets full of poems. Elinor, who is thought to be the best poet in the class, has struggled with an epic case of writer's block and arrives at school with no poem at all. As each child shares a poem with the famous poet, Elinor's misery grows until she finally speaks with the kind writer. Karas' gouache, acrylic and pencil illustrations sensitively extend the story, showing both the enthusiasm in the classroom and Elinor's frustration in trying to compose the perfect poem. Sprinkling circular spot illustrations with double-page spreads of the friendly classroom, Karas shows each child joyfully looking, creating, sharing and writing. Gray and yellow are used to reflect Elinor's moods. Gentle and subtle, this sensitive story teaches a lot about poetry, perfectionism, and the power of a teacher and a poet. (Picture book. 4-10)

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