I had never seen an acrostic poem until my daughter wrote one at school and proudly showed me her creation. She went on to write many more such poems, and still occasionally writes acrostics, which she illustrates with her own drawings. This wonderful title shows young readers how these poems are written, and provides them with examples to read and enjoy.
Bow-Tie Pasta: Acrostic Poems
Brian P. Cleary
Illustrated by Andy Rowland
For ages 6 to 8
Millbrook, 2015, 978-1-4677-8107-7
For many children, an acrostic poem is the first poem that they write. To create these poems poets use a word, written down the page instead of across it, to form the building blocks of their word creation. They then begin to write phrases that begin with the letters of that word that explore, in some way, what that chosen word means. For example, the first poem in this is book is built off the word “Acrostic.” The first letter of the first line is an A, the second a C, the third an R, and so on. The poem begins thus: “All kinds of poems are / Cool, but this type is / Really interesting…” Since rhyme and meter patterns are not required in poems of this type - though some of them do rhyme - acrostic poems are wonderfully simple to create.
The author of this book begins by explaining what acrostic poems are and then he gives us some wonderful examples to read and explore. Some of the poems use only one word, words like piano, Halloween, and library. Other poems use several words. For example, the author creates a poem called Bow Tie Pasta and the poem explores what it is like to eat pasta that is made out of bow ties of all colors. Not surprising, the meal is “Awful tasting.”
Many of the poems are written without any kind of rhyme or pattern, but there is one that has rhyme and a balanced meter. The poem is called Rainy Day, and as the verse unfolds we read about a child who makes “cookies by the sheet / Next they cool. I dunk and eat.” Thanks to books, treats, and games, this is a boy or girl who loves “the great indoors!”
Children who have been afraid to try writing poems of their own are going to be inspired when they look through this book. They will see how easy it is to write acrostic poems, which can be funny, tell a story, or be contemplative, depending on the writer’s mood.