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A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms

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From the simplest couplet to the mind-boggling pantoum, the award-winning team behind A POKE IN THE I shows us the many fascinating ways poetic forms take shape. Please Open this book for something Extraordinary. Twenty-nine different poetic forms await you Inside these pages. How many Can you master? From sonnets to double dactyls, Odes to limericks— Raschka and Janeczko (and a fr From the simplest couplet to the mind-boggling pantoum, the award-winning team behind A POKE IN THE I shows us the many fascinating ways poetic forms take shape. Please Open this book for something Extraordinary. Twenty-nine different poetic forms await you Inside these pages. How many Can you master? From sonnets to double dactyls, Odes to limericks— Raschka and Janeczko (and a frisky mule) Make learning the rules of poetry So much fun! In this splendid and playful volume, acclaimed poetry anthologist Paul B. Janeczko and Caldecott Honor illustrator Chris Raschka present lively examples of twenty-nine poetic forms, demonstrating not only the (sometimes bendable) rules of poetry, but also the spirit that brings these forms so wonderfully to life. Featuring formal poems, some familiar and some never before published, 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.


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From the simplest couplet to the mind-boggling pantoum, the award-winning team behind A POKE IN THE I shows us the many fascinating ways poetic forms take shape. Please Open this book for something Extraordinary. Twenty-nine different poetic forms await you Inside these pages. How many Can you master? From sonnets to double dactyls, Odes to limericks— Raschka and Janeczko (and a fr From the simplest couplet to the mind-boggling pantoum, the award-winning team behind A POKE IN THE I shows us the many fascinating ways poetic forms take shape. Please Open this book for something Extraordinary. Twenty-nine different poetic forms await you Inside these pages. How many Can you master? From sonnets to double dactyls, Odes to limericks— Raschka and Janeczko (and a frisky mule) Make learning the rules of poetry So much fun! In this splendid and playful volume, acclaimed poetry anthologist Paul B. Janeczko and Caldecott Honor illustrator Chris Raschka present lively examples of twenty-nine poetic forms, demonstrating not only the (sometimes bendable) rules of poetry, but also the spirit that brings these forms so wonderfully to life. Featuring formal poems, some familiar and some never before published, 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.

30 review for A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms

  1. 5 out of 5

    Agnė

    I knew close to nothing about poetry, but, thanks to this awesome textbook disguised as a picture book, I learned 29 poetic forms! :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kit Pang

    Here is my poem. Hickory Dickory Dock I lost my sock.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    This has about the best breakdown of most poetic forms that I've read, featuring small, easy-to-follow explanations, examples in real poetry, and illustrations for visual learners.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Riven

    A Kick In The Head selected by Paul B. Janezcko is an interesting book containing examples of 29 poetic forms. The poems contained are of a good quality although they don’t always strictly stick to their forms. This is a book that could be used with older KS2 and even Secondary children however it is not the easiest book to just dip into and understand a particular poetic form and although the temptation maybe to do this it is beneficial to read from beginning to end. The book could be used as q A Kick In The Head selected by Paul B. Janezcko is an interesting book containing examples of 29 poetic forms. The poems contained are of a good quality although they don’t always strictly stick to their forms. This is a book that could be used with older KS2 and even Secondary children however it is not the easiest book to just dip into and understand a particular poetic form and although the temptation maybe to do this it is beneficial to read from beginning to end. The book could be used as quick reference for different poetic forms should you wish to base a lesson around one of them though I feel it would have been useful to have more than one example for each style as this would help children understand them easier. I love this book as am by no means a poetry expert and feel this is a great introduction. I do think some children may struggle with it a due the limited examples for each style and the heavy use of poetic terminology.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Acton

    I am a student at Acton Academy and I have learned lots from this book. I think it explains the forms of poetry very well. The illustrations are great also. Thank you Paul Janeczko and Chris Raschka. The title is completely true.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zakia

    This is really useful in my middle school classroom, and my 4 year loves having me read the poems to her. The illustrations are very engaging.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Davies

    This wonderful anthology of poetry compiled by Paul Janezcko takes on an unusual but highly valuable educational dual role: every single poem selected is of a different form and readers discover how each form works by considering the example poem published. From well-established primary school poetic structures such as acrostic and shape (or concrete) poems, though to forms children may never have encountered such as villanelle, clerihew and aubade, this comprehensive poetic education would leav This wonderful anthology of poetry compiled by Paul Janezcko takes on an unusual but highly valuable educational dual role: every single poem selected is of a different form and readers discover how each form works by considering the example poem published. From well-established primary school poetic structures such as acrostic and shape (or concrete) poems, though to forms children may never have encountered such as villanelle, clerihew and aubade, this comprehensive poetic education would leave pupils hugely well-versed (pun intended!) and prepared to analyse other poetry and then experiment with writing their own. Poets featured range from the traditional Shakespeare, Edward Lear and William Blake through to the contemporary of Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Bobbi Katz; we encounter the work of plenty of female poets and international authors too: a haiku is even included by Buson from 18th Century Japan. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the collection is the number of lesson ideas which burst from the pages: found poems, poems of address, elegies and epitaphs, blues poems, riddles, odes and opposites provide so many possibilities for a huge range of class topics or lessons which could link way beyond just the English curriculum. A handy glossary of the forms exemplified is provided at the back, and entertaining collage-style artwork throughout offers further stimuli for creating links to fine and even performing arts. I need to buy a copy of this book!

  8. 5 out of 5

    LauraR

    This award winning book was my choice read based on the unique writing style. This author, chose to write a story about the rules of different forms of poetry. For readers who are just learning about poetry, specifically how to write it, this book is an excellent example of how to do that. Examining the rules of different (29 to be exact) poems, readers have the ability to analyze what makes each poem unique. The illustrations in the text are unique to each poem and were created through oil past This award winning book was my choice read based on the unique writing style. This author, chose to write a story about the rules of different forms of poetry. For readers who are just learning about poetry, specifically how to write it, this book is an excellent example of how to do that. Examining the rules of different (29 to be exact) poems, readers have the ability to analyze what makes each poem unique. The illustrations in the text are unique to each poem and were created through oil pastels and water color paints. Each illustration, allows the reader to interpret its significance to the poem on the page. The illustrations are abstract and have a surrealism element to them. There are also small illustrations at the top of each page that have a direct correlation to the type of poem chosen. As a reader, I often needed to think about the example poem shown in order to determine how the small picture played a role. It is clear, that if readers do not read the introduction to the story, that it would be overlooked. I highly recommend this book for any age/ grade level due to it's unique ability to teach poetry. Teachers can utilize this text if they would like an example of a specific poem. Readers also do not have to go in any particular order, which is a non- traditional way of reading a story. I think the illustrations make this book inviting for readers of all ages as well.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Pilling

    My dad loved music, but he couldn’t sing. “He can’t carry a tune in a bucket” my mom used to say. Yet, he found his musical voice through poetry. He read it, memorized hundres of poems in his life and even published two books of his own work. Poetry has always been an important part of my life and though I do not have my father’s gift for writing it, I do share his love for it. A Kick in the Head written by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrateted by Chris Raschka is a great poetry book. Janexzko even My dad loved music, but he couldn’t sing. “He can’t carry a tune in a bucket” my mom used to say. Yet, he found his musical voice through poetry. He read it, memorized hundres of poems in his life and even published two books of his own work. Poetry has always been an important part of my life and though I do not have my father’s gift for writing it, I do share his love for it. A Kick in the Head written by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrateted by Chris Raschka is a great poetry book. Janexzko even writes a poem to explain what poetry is! The book contains the authors own work but also gives examples of all kinds of different poetry by authors from Ogden Nash to William Blake. With it’s vivid illustrations, this is a great way to introduce young readers to all kinds of poems. It contains funny verse as well as work that is steeped in metaphor. This book contains some great vocabulary, beautiful symbolism and vivid illustrations that get your creative juices flowing. For me, the best part about this book is that it shows the reader that anyone can write a poem—it may not be a Shakespearian sonnet, but anyone can create something that has magical and musical meaning. A great work for kids ages 5-12 to be sure, but I think this would also be useful for older children and adults who want to remember why poetry is cool!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shelli

    In A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms (2005), Paul Janeczko has selected poems to represent 29 different poetic forms. In his introduction, he explains the reason for the rules behind the poetic forms while also acknowledging that sometimes those rules can be set aside for the "spirit" of the poem. Chris Raschka's illustrations, while obviously making the pages more colorful, also provide a clue to the format of the poem. An interesting explanation of the different formats wit In A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms (2005), Paul Janeczko has selected poems to represent 29 different poetic forms. In his introduction, he explains the reason for the rules behind the poetic forms while also acknowledging that sometimes those rules can be set aside for the "spirit" of the poem. Chris Raschka's illustrations, while obviously making the pages more colorful, also provide a clue to the format of the poem. An interesting explanation of the different formats with great examples. Themes: Poetic forms Ways to use this book with children: This would be a great book to use when teaching the poetic forms, because you can take what you need from it without having to hunt down a particular form in the midst of an anthology. *Have students find examples of the forms based on the explanations and examples in the book. *Have students compose their own examples of the forms discussed. It would be fun for them to illustrate their own or a friend's poem as well. Additional Info: *Contains a "Notes on the Forms" section at the back of the book for reference. *2006 Claudia Lewis Poetry Award *2005 Parent's Choice Award

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Wonderful illustrations and easy descriptions.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I learned about this useful book on poetry from Nancy Pearl’s Book Crush, a book about books for children and teens. This was recommended for middle grade readers, but is a useful overview for adults as well. In fact, even as an adult, some of the explanations were a bit too succinct to grasp in a quick read, as you have to absorb a lot of definitions. Janeczko gives a brief introduction, then largely lets the poems speak for themselves, giving the type of the poem in the corner of the page, and I learned about this useful book on poetry from Nancy Pearl’s Book Crush, a book about books for children and teens. This was recommended for middle grade readers, but is a useful overview for adults as well. In fact, even as an adult, some of the explanations were a bit too succinct to grasp in a quick read, as you have to absorb a lot of definitions. Janeczko gives a brief introduction, then largely lets the poems speak for themselves, giving the type of the poem in the corner of the page, and a one line definition of the type of poem in small print at the bottom of the page. Illustrations by Chris Raschka add color to each page. At the end of the book, there’s a few more sentences on each type of poem in an appendix. I think I would have had an easier time learning about the poems if the longer explanations were included on the pages with the poems they reference. But I imagine Janeczko wanted readers to experience the poems as intended with as little explanation as possible to distract from them. He did a good job of selecting poems that kids would be likely to relate to, but I think this would be a challenging book for most kids to learn from without additional guidance and discussion to help them absorb what the author teaches. I think I say this on every poetry book review, but I’m not really a poetry fan. Yet I keep trying. I checked this book out from the library, and was actually on the fence about returning it unread, but then the power went out, and so I decided to read it by flashlight until the lights came back on (and even then, I kept reading to finish it—it’s not very long). I did like most of the poems, and I came away with a better understanding and respect for the form.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Lambourn

    This book is not for the average young child. I think some teachers will use this in middle school through grad school levels in their units of poetry. Even in this, the teacher will not be able to simply grab this book and open to any page for most students to learn the given forms. They need to read it prior, prepare to explain the author's intention as stated in the introduction about why the forms are chosen by poets to play and puzzle with, inspire by their challenges, and in some cases - p This book is not for the average young child. I think some teachers will use this in middle school through grad school levels in their units of poetry. Even in this, the teacher will not be able to simply grab this book and open to any page for most students to learn the given forms. They need to read it prior, prepare to explain the author's intention as stated in the introduction about why the forms are chosen by poets to play and puzzle with, inspire by their challenges, and in some cases - poke fun by ignoring the "rules" set in place by that form. I personally found it challenging in many places, helpful in others, and enjoy the illustrations and page layout - except for the description of each form on every page is too tiny in a light font to read with ease. I wish I’d looked first at the back of the book to see Notes on the Forms - which I only saw later. 

But I suspect - again - a teacher will take this book and grab only 1,2 or 3 poems at the grade level appropriate to share. I do feel the book offers one very positive in its selections - depending on the readers relating to the subjects within them - most are about everyday occurrences, students may break through the idea that poetry has to be about lofty or spiritual themes. Because it covers so many more poetic forms than most, it definitely has a place in the poetry teaching library. As a prior teacher [30 years]. I find this a good reference and resource, but personally do not feel moved or excited by the majority of its poems - unlike that feeling I remember when a picture book so inspired me to teach a concept or share a vision.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jhana French

    I loved reading this book. This poetry book includes 29 different poetic forms, with examples and explanations of each type of poem. After reading the introduction of the book, I proceeded to read the book how the author suggested. I first read the poem, then read the explanation at the bottom, and finally reread the poem again. This gave me a better understanding of the structure of each poem, and allowed me to try and figure out how the author wrote the poem, and if he or she successfully foll I loved reading this book. This poetry book includes 29 different poetic forms, with examples and explanations of each type of poem. After reading the introduction of the book, I proceeded to read the book how the author suggested. I first read the poem, then read the explanation at the bottom, and finally reread the poem again. This gave me a better understanding of the structure of each poem, and allowed me to try and figure out how the author wrote the poem, and if he or she successfully followed the structure. I really enjoyed this book because I am always curious about how authors can create poetry that is so meaningful and creative while barely using any words. This book gave me some insight on how to create different forms of poetry for myself. I plan on having a copy of this book in my classroom in the future so my students and I can have a reference and inspiration when writing our own poems. I would recommend this book to 4th and 5th graders. However, I think that several of these poems can be read aloud to all elementary aged students. Each poem has an amazing illustration to go along with the poem that catch the reader’s eye with vibrant colors. Although there are some poems that have a deeper meaning, there are also some that are amusing and silly that younger children can enjoy as well.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jewely Lewis

    This brilliant text is a collection of poetry written by different poets and includes beautifully colored illustrations. One reason this book is on my favorites shelf is the variety in poems it offers. There are silly poems (i.e., Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoes) and serious poems (Amelia Cramped) and inspiring poems (i.e., A Kick in the Head). Not only is there a variety in the feel of the poetry but there is also a variety in the types of poems. The text includes 29 different forms of poetry. Each This brilliant text is a collection of poetry written by different poets and includes beautifully colored illustrations. One reason this book is on my favorites shelf is the variety in poems it offers. There are silly poems (i.e., Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoes) and serious poems (Amelia Cramped) and inspiring poems (i.e., A Kick in the Head). Not only is there a variety in the feel of the poetry but there is also a variety in the types of poems. The text includes 29 different forms of poetry. Each poem is labeled by its type and has a short description defining that type of poetry it is labeled. Additionally, at the end of the text there is more information about all of the different forms of poetry presented throughout the story. The attention-grabbing illustrations stay consistent through each poem. This text could be applicable to most elementary grades (K-5) – but would be most beneficial in grades where students are working on identifying forms of poetry and writing poetry themselves. Within the reading classroom this text could be used in an abundance of manners. First, the story could be used to provide instruction about the characteristics of the different forms of poetry. Additionally, some of the poems would work perfectly for a fluency lesson where students practice fluently reading aloud poems to one another. Poems found in the text could also be broken down for analyzing meaning in a reading comprehension lesson. Finally, many of the poems include descriptive vocabulary that could be including in vocabulary instruction or word study activities.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marquisha

    This book made its way onto my favorites because it's wonderfully written and illustrated. Aside from being wonderfully illustrated the boook gives great exmples of all different types of poetry from haikus,Couplets, Quatrain and limericks, the nook has many more but I won't list them all. The book gives simple examples for early readers to fluent readers. This poetry book is a great collection to share with the class as an indivudual class read or a read aloud book and I would also recomend hav This book made its way onto my favorites because it's wonderfully written and illustrated. Aside from being wonderfully illustrated the boook gives great exmples of all different types of poetry from haikus,Couplets, Quatrain and limericks, the nook has many more but I won't list them all. The book gives simple examples for early readers to fluent readers. This poetry book is a great collection to share with the class as an indivudual class read or a read aloud book and I would also recomend having this book in your library to have a diverse collection in the classroom. I think this book would be great for a 2-5 grade classroom. The students could take apart some of the poems found in the book. Another thing I liked about this book was that the defintions or rules for how poems should be written are given at the bottom to help students understand the poetry they are reading. The collection of poetry is simply written and the pictures help emergent readers to follow along. Overall I think this is a great book to have in the classroom.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Cucchiarella

    This is a book about different types of poems. There are 29 different kinds of poems. Each poem in this book has the name of what kind of poem is is and how to make that poem. This would be a great book to use in a classroom when teaching different kinds of poems. The illustrations are very unique and add to the message of the poem which is helpful. One quote from this book is, “First day, new school year, backpack harbors a fossil… last June’s cheese sandwich.” One book that would pair well wit This is a book about different types of poems. There are 29 different kinds of poems. Each poem in this book has the name of what kind of poem is is and how to make that poem. This would be a great book to use in a classroom when teaching different kinds of poems. The illustrations are very unique and add to the message of the poem which is helpful. One quote from this book is, “First day, new school year, backpack harbors a fossil… last June’s cheese sandwich.” One book that would pair well with this is “Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets” by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Child960801

    This is a fabulous poetry collection which introduces different forms of poems, giving details about them, and then sharing poems that follow that form. Most people know about a couplet or have heard of a sonnet or haiku, but this book had so many different kinds that I had never heard of before! This book would be a perfect companion to a unit on poetry. I’m tempted to take it out again some time so we can practice writing different kinds of poems. Also, lovely illustrations and fun poem choice This is a fabulous poetry collection which introduces different forms of poems, giving details about them, and then sharing poems that follow that form. Most people know about a couplet or have heard of a sonnet or haiku, but this book had so many different kinds that I had never heard of before! This book would be a perfect companion to a unit on poetry. I’m tempted to take it out again some time so we can practice writing different kinds of poems. Also, lovely illustrations and fun poem choices.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A colleague gave this book to me when we moved across the country, and I will forever be grateful for his thoughtful and lasting gift. For the slightly older reader (or the adult who wants to brush up on poetic forms... or learn them in the first place, as I'd certainly never heard of a villanelle or a pantoum...), pick up this anthology (once again curated by Janeczko)! Though each page has a brief explanation of the poetic form of the given poem, Janeczko also includes a more detailed "Notes o A colleague gave this book to me when we moved across the country, and I will forever be grateful for his thoughtful and lasting gift. For the slightly older reader (or the adult who wants to brush up on poetic forms... or learn them in the first place, as I'd certainly never heard of a villanelle or a pantoum...), pick up this anthology (once again curated by Janeczko)! Though each page has a brief explanation of the poetic form of the given poem, Janeczko also includes a more detailed "Notes on the Forms" section at the back of the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    AmandaF

    This simple guide to everyday poems is filled with different types of poems. Readers are exposed to acrostic, haiku, senryu, cinquain, roundel, double dactyl, triolet, ode and many others. Poems are about animals, places, seasons, feelings, and creatures. The illustrations goes with each poem. This would be apportaite for 2nd to 5th grade. At the very bottom of certain pages, it explains what each poem means and what it is. This was a great read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kandace

    A book about different forms of poetry. Examples and definitions of various poems are included. I used this book as I’ve taught poetry lessons. The definitions are easily understandable for students and they’ve enjoyed the examples given. I used TeachingBooks.net to get more information on this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mickayla

    Grade range: 2-6 Genre: Poetry This is a super awesome book for exemplifing the different types of poetic styles. This could be fun for older students to look through, and for you to use with younger students to help them learn how to write different types of poetry, such as an acrostic. A wonderful read! I would recommend!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scarlet

    A kick in the head is a amazing book with so many poetry readings that you will be rhyming after you read that. In the book it tells you want type of poetry you are reading so that you may know and I like that a lot because I am not so good with poetry. Take it from me I don’t even like poetry but this book made me have a knew perspective on poetry.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Dahl

    Upper primary/Upper grades Poetry This book is wildly helpful! I like how it not only gives an example but then also defines the specific type of poem used within that poem at the bottom of the page. I also liked how on certain poems, like the clerihew that, "build" upon other poems types. I learned a lot by reading this book, and would definitely consider purchasing it for a future classroom!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Cover and title best bits. If you're determined to teach the subject, it's not a bad book. But I, personally, despise most of Raschka's work, and was not overly impressed with most of the selections.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Incredible mentor text that every teacher needs to have in their classroom! 29 different poem followed by an explanatory note at the bottom of the page. More in-depth explanations at the end of the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    jeffrey.Lim is so super duper cool add me up boi

    I did not like this book because it was all poems.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tegan

    I don't know much about poetry, but this was a great way to learn about different forms! This can be used for any age!! Read for grad school for my Lit & Resources for Children. I don't know much about poetry, but this was a great way to learn about different forms! This can be used for any age!! Read for grad school for my Lit & Resources for Children.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Includes samples of poetic forms you may almost remember, and some you may never have heard of (clerihew? aubade?). Pair with "A Poke in the I" from the same creators.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jess Ridgeway

    So much fun! The poems included are wonderful and informative as to the types of poetic form. Can’t wait to share with my class!

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