Today's poetry title shows to great effect how one poet plays with words to create poems that are incredibly varied.
If you were a chocolate mustache
J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
For ages 7 to 10
Boyds Mills Press, 2012, 978-1-59078-927-8
Poems come in many forms, more forms perhaps than most of us are aware of. J. Patrick Lewis, the Children’s Poet Laureate, loves to play with these forms, and this is what he has done in this collection. In this book readers will find riddles, limericks, haiku, story poems, concrete poems and more. The only thing that the poems have in common is that they are all serve to amuse the reader, to make the reader smile or even laugh.
On the pages of this title you will find a poem that describes dragon dinner etiquette. If you are a dragon, never accept a dinner invitation “If St. George is the guest of honor.” If you are going to eat Chinese food use “chop stakes,” and nights when you have pizza delivered “Spare the delivery boy.”
In another part of the book you will encounter another dragonish poem. In “Dragon vs. Girl” we meet a dragon who is complaining about a girl who sprayed him with water using a squirt gun. The dragon’s mother points out that the dragon has got “a flame to throw,” which should make short work of the girl and her squirt gun. Unfortunately, the mother dragon fails to take one very important fact into consideration; that water puts out fire.
Some of the poems are riddles that are both amusing and challenging to solve. There are the Haikus that are “City/State Riddles.” If you know your US geography you should be able to solve these riddles, some of which are quite tricky. In addition there are three book riddles. If you know your fairy tales you should have no problem figuring them out. For all of the riddles, readers will find that the answers written in small looking glass type next to the poems. All you need to read the solutions is a mirror.
This is a splendid collection that young readers are going to enjoy dipping into. It is likely that they will discover some poetry forms that they have never seen before.