Poetry collections that have a theme can be a lot of fun to explore. I have reviewed a lot of books of this kind. Sometimes though one wants a book of poems where the poems are very different. Today's poetry title is just such a book. There are funny poems, thoughtful poems, nonsensical poems, and story poems.
Illustrated by Sherwin Tjia
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Boyds Mills Press, 2004, 978-1-932425-82-6
There are times in life when it is very hard to find a feeling of lightheartedness. At such times things that bring a smile to our lips are elusive, and life can start to feel rather stale and sad. Thankfully the world is full of creative people who love to bring a little light and perhaps humor into our lives. One of these people is the author of this book.
The poems begin by looking at a Mope. Everyone knows one and this particular Mope seems incurable. The narrator “hoped and hoped” that “some happy thought might help her cope,” but alas all those hopes were in vain.
Next we meet another person with a problem. This one has a chronic tendency to slouch. One can understand why the slouch might be tired of hearing people say “don’t slouch,” but, as the poet reminds us, it is better to heed the warning before ones back is so bent over that one has to go to the hospital and undergo painful straightening procedures.
Later on in the book we meet a dinner guest who is annoyed because an uninvited ghost sent out a gust that “chilled his toast.” We hear about the rhinostrich, a creature that is part ostrich and part rhino. The animal has “leathery feathers,” a horn and a beak. Such an animal would be worth a great deal but the poet tells us that he would never sell his rhinostrich because it “wouldn’t be nice.”You never quite know what is going to turn up next in this book. Some of the poems make you think, some make you smile, and some make you laugh. Every single one gives you the opportunity to explore the ways in which poems make our lives richer.