Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



A Foot in the Mouth

A Foot in the Mouth

Spring 2009 Poetry
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Paul Janeczko
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763606633
Hardcover Price: $17.99
Review:
In their third collaboration, Janeczko and Raschka once again prove that combining flawlessly-chosen poems and deftly complementary illustrations once again has the happy effect of leading readers-even reluctant ones-through an invisible doorway into the world of verse. And because this poetry collection is-according to the breezy and enthusiastic introduction-meant to be read aloud and therefore frequently filled with "very strong rhyme schemes," one might be tempted to say that readers are in for an exquisite visit. While their first joint production (A Poke in the I, Candlewick, 2001) featured concrete verse and their second (A Kick in the Head, Candlewick, 2005) surveyed a variety of poetic forms, this volume homes in on poetry as a collection of sounds, meant to be heard, meant to be recited, meant to "roll across your tongue." Janeczko is an intelligent selector with wide-ranging tastes, a vast knowledge of the genre, and a mischievous eclecticism that makes bedfellows of the three witches soliloquy from Macbeth and "Gigl" the six-word wonder by Arnold Spilka ("a pigl / wigl / if / u / tigl"). Also included are such irresistible classics as David McCord's "The Pickety Fence" ("Give it a lick / Give it a lick / Give it a lick / With a rickety stick") along with the lesser known and quite somber "My Memories of the Nicaraguan Revolution" ("A road lined with bullet shells instead of pebbles"). Raschka's illustrations echo the earlier volumes-fat, loosely constructed brushstrokes and daubs of color mixed with highly patterned fragments of collage-surrounding each of the poems with light, warmth, and a real sense of the joy well-chosen words bring into all our lives.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.


Share This