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A celebrated duo reunites for a look at poems through history inspired by objects—earthly and celestial—reflecting the time in which each poet lived. A book-eating moth in the early Middle Ages. A peach blossom during the Renaissance. A haunted palace in the Victorian era. A lament for the hat in contemporary times. Poetry has been a living form of artistic expression for t A celebrated duo reunites for a look at poems through history inspired by objects—earthly and celestial—reflecting the time in which each poet lived. A book-eating moth in the early Middle Ages. A peach blossom during the Renaissance. A haunted palace in the Victorian era. A lament for the hat in contemporary times. Poetry has been a living form of artistic expression for thousands of years, and throughout that time poets have found inspiration in everything from swords to stamp albums, candles to cobwebs, manhole covers to the moon. In The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects, award-winning anthologist Paul B. Janeczko presents his fiftieth book, offering young readers a quick tour of poets through the ages. Breathing bright life into each selection is Chris Raschka’s witty, imaginative art.


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A celebrated duo reunites for a look at poems through history inspired by objects—earthly and celestial—reflecting the time in which each poet lived. A book-eating moth in the early Middle Ages. A peach blossom during the Renaissance. A haunted palace in the Victorian era. A lament for the hat in contemporary times. Poetry has been a living form of artistic expression for t A celebrated duo reunites for a look at poems through history inspired by objects—earthly and celestial—reflecting the time in which each poet lived. A book-eating moth in the early Middle Ages. A peach blossom during the Renaissance. A haunted palace in the Victorian era. A lament for the hat in contemporary times. Poetry has been a living form of artistic expression for thousands of years, and throughout that time poets have found inspiration in everything from swords to stamp albums, candles to cobwebs, manhole covers to the moon. In The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects, award-winning anthologist Paul B. Janeczko presents his fiftieth book, offering young readers a quick tour of poets through the ages. Breathing bright life into each selection is Chris Raschka’s witty, imaginative art.

30 review for The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    "The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects" is one of the "non-fiction" selections for Chapter and verse Book Club this year. We are reading it as a possible contender for the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal. At the same time that the book list of award contenders for 2015 publications for our book club was released, "The Death of the Hat" appeared in a Star Tribune article on August 18th entitled, "Lovely Picture Books for Your Kids on Sharks, Poetry, North Woods L "The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects" is one of the "non-fiction" selections for Chapter and verse Book Club this year. We are reading it as a possible contender for the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal. At the same time that the book list of award contenders for 2015 publications for our book club was released, "The Death of the Hat" appeared in a Star Tribune article on August 18th entitled, "Lovely Picture Books for Your Kids on Sharks, Poetry, North Woods Life and More." The title of this article introduces much of what I want to talk about in regards to this book. This book is a conundrum. "Lovely Picture Book..." - yes, the book is packaged as a "picture book" in both size and illustrations. And the watercolor and ink illustrations are gorgeous and help add cohesiveness to the book, both in terms of style and repeated elements (the wildgoose, pastel color palette, etc.) "For Your Kids..." - not so much. The book is recommended for grades three and up. Really? The text at the beginning of the book, which covers literary periods from the early middle ages to contemporary, would be well beyond the grasp of a third grader. For example, "First, early poets, particularly in the West, composed philosophical and spiritual meditations on life and death..." Yeah, a third grader would be all over that! The same is true of many of the poems Paul Janeczko selected for inclusion in the anthology. I felt the text was more appropriate for high school on up - who may have some context for what is covered here - most will have studied these literary and historical periods to some degree. However, they will NOT carry around a "Lovely Picture Book." So, the question is, "Who is 'The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects' for?" The book has received many starred reviews in professional review journals. It IS well-organized and IS fluent visually, in terms of the chronological coverage of literary time periods, and in terms of the "object" theme. It IS visually appealing. However, as many goodreads reviewers (many of whom were disappointed in the book and gave it one star) have stated, the book is not appropriate for its intended audience. This is something I very often see in "informational texts." I don't understand the insistence on using the large, picture book format when presenting material more appropriate for older readers. Perhaps secondary teachers might use the book in a study of poetry and/or literary time periods, but I don't see it as a big seller for independent reading at any age level. I, personally, enjoyed it. But I don't necessarily think kids or teens will.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    Enjoyed this book very much, both for its selection of poetry (my favorites were "The Death of the Hat" by Billy Collins, "Lament, for Cocoa" by John Updike and "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver) and for its charming illustrations by Chris Raschka. Took me a month or more to get through the 50 page book but I enjoyed that pace & looking back at the illustrations afterwards. Enjoyed this book very much, both for its selection of poetry (my favorites were "The Death of the Hat" by Billy Collins, "Lament, for Cocoa" by John Updike and "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver) and for its charming illustrations by Chris Raschka. Took me a month or more to get through the 50 page book but I enjoyed that pace & looking back at the illustrations afterwards.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    Janeczko has collected here an excellent representation of poems from different cultures and time periods, starting with the early Middle Ages. All of the poems center around objects, which must have been a challenge to find during times when poetry tended to be more abstract or philosophical. His introduction provides an overview of the time periods and poets selected. I discovered a few poets I’d never heard of before, like Jusammi Chikako and Charlotte Smith. These poems were selected with ca Janeczko has collected here an excellent representation of poems from different cultures and time periods, starting with the early Middle Ages. All of the poems center around objects, which must have been a challenge to find during times when poetry tended to be more abstract or philosophical. His introduction provides an overview of the time periods and poets selected. I discovered a few poets I’d never heard of before, like Jusammi Chikako and Charlotte Smith. These poems were selected with care, and were a pleasure to read aloud. I usually don’t care for Chris Rascka’s illustrations, but I make the exception here. He has two really cute watercolors of cats, one fuzzy gray kitten on the verso, and a stripy gray cat on pages 54 and 55 in whose eyes the crescent moon is reflected. However, the best illustration is the one that accompanies the poem “A Solitary Wildgoose” on page 17. The poem is about flying with the flock or flying alone. The goose chooses to fly alone—throughout the entire book. You can spot him in the illustrations to other poems as the book progresses, until, on the endpapers, he’s joined a flock of what looks to be a different type of goose. Very clever! I highly recommend this delightful collection of poems to young and old alike. Don’t forget to look for the goose!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I really liked the introduction here and I was excited to see this concept in action. In the end, though, I don't think this approach to the topic of poetry works, especially because when you search for poems about an object you often end up with obscure poems by fantastic poets rather than the poems these writers are famous for. The watercolor artwork did a good job of spotlighting the subjects of the poems and was the main draw to this book (for me). Overall, there was a great selection of autho I really liked the introduction here and I was excited to see this concept in action. In the end, though, I don't think this approach to the topic of poetry works, especially because when you search for poems about an object you often end up with obscure poems by fantastic poets rather than the poems these writers are famous for. The watercolor artwork did a good job of spotlighting the subjects of the poems and was the main draw to this book (for me). Overall, there was a great selection of authors included in this volume of poetry, but less than 5 well-known poems due to the linking factor being objects versus what each poet was best known for. The poetry is very advanced and difficult for young readers to understand. I'd place this volume at an 8 grade and up reading level, though the artwork appeals to PreK-2+ crowds. I've enjoyed poetry collection by this duo before, I just think the concept doesn't work here.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    The premise of The Death of the Hat is intriguing and challenging. Is it possible to give a brief history of poetry in 50 poems? And in 50 poems about things? What I noticed is that by limiting it to things--to objects--what you get is not 50 of the best poems ever written, but 50 poems that fit the criteria. I would have preferred 50 of the best poems ever OR 50 poems that are really good and still accessible to children. The spanning of the poems through the centuries is nice enough. And as I The premise of The Death of the Hat is intriguing and challenging. Is it possible to give a brief history of poetry in 50 poems? And in 50 poems about things? What I noticed is that by limiting it to things--to objects--what you get is not 50 of the best poems ever written, but 50 poems that fit the criteria. I would have preferred 50 of the best poems ever OR 50 poems that are really good and still accessible to children. The spanning of the poems through the centuries is nice enough. And as I said, in theory, this one has potential. But in fact, I found it a challenging read. The poems varied in accessibility. Some were REALLY hard to connect to, to understand, to enjoy. Authors probably weren't hoping for a response of "so what?" Of course, there are some exceptions. Still this one would be for people who already LOVE poetry.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leaflet

    Marvelous collection with wonderful watercolor illustrations. Is it suitable for children? I don't know and I don't care. One poem of many favorites: In Praise of a Sword Given Him by His Prince Colman mac Lenini translated by Richard O'Connell Blackbirds to a swan, Feathers to hard iron, Rock hags to a siren, All lords to my lord; Jackdaws to a hawk, Cackling to a choir, Sparks to a bonfire, All swords to my sword.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    FABULOUS anthology of poetry from Early Middle Ages to Contemporary. Great choices. Accessible to kids. Wonderful illustrations.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    I always like his anthologies, but I didn't love this one as much. I think he gave himself too hard of a job by making it a history of poetry that only includes poems about objects. He mentions in the intro that he had some trouble because early Western poets normally wrote about abstract things like philosophy and death, not objects--which you would think would be an indication that maybe this wasn't the best combination of themes! So the early poetry is mostly Eastern and then it suddenly swit I always like his anthologies, but I didn't love this one as much. I think he gave himself too hard of a job by making it a history of poetry that only includes poems about objects. He mentions in the intro that he had some trouble because early Western poets normally wrote about abstract things like philosophy and death, not objects--which you would think would be an indication that maybe this wasn't the best combination of themes! So the early poetry is mostly Eastern and then it suddenly switches to Western, which is a little disconcerting. And it's kind of strange that he starts his timeline in 400AD and doesn't include anything from Ancient Greece, etc. I don't think you get as clear a view of the evolution of poetry as you could have if he'd given himself more flexibility. It's also not his most accessible anthology since it includes more early poets than usual. So definitely for older kids or even YA.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Another interesting project between the compiler and illustrator. Billy Collins’s “The Death of the Hat” steals the show along with Raschka’s cover, but it is far from alone. Raschka’s illustrations throughout are imaginative, evocative, and fanciful. For myself, I’m glad Janeczko was constrained by the boundaries of the project—read the Introduction. Raschka seems especially enchanted by geese, cats, clouds, and water. It is curious to find the book cataloged in our library in the juvenile sect Another interesting project between the compiler and illustrator. Billy Collins’s “The Death of the Hat” steals the show along with Raschka’s cover, but it is far from alone. Raschka’s illustrations throughout are imaginative, evocative, and fanciful. For myself, I’m glad Janeczko was constrained by the boundaries of the project—read the Introduction. Raschka seems especially enchanted by geese, cats, clouds, and water. It is curious to find the book cataloged in our library in the juvenile section, when the book is targeted for “young and not-so-young readers” and is less likely to capture many on the younger end of that spectrum—I think it would be more likely to be read if at least moved into the Young Adult category. This book deserves to be seen and read

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    A very unusual collection of poetry meant to illustrate the history of this literary form. Paul Janeczko found poems about objects for younger readers to take them through the history of poetry starting with the early Middle Ages and progressing to contemporary poetry. Some of the "objects" are actually living things such as animals, plants and the weather. Some are clear and easy to understand, while others require stretching the mind. The illustrations by Chris Raschka are bright, lively and b A very unusual collection of poetry meant to illustrate the history of this literary form. Paul Janeczko found poems about objects for younger readers to take them through the history of poetry starting with the early Middle Ages and progressing to contemporary poetry. Some of the "objects" are actually living things such as animals, plants and the weather. Some are clear and easy to understand, while others require stretching the mind. The illustrations by Chris Raschka are bright, lively and bring clarity to each poem.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lkking

    All ages poetry. The author presents a history of poetry by era - romantic, renaissance, modern, etc. - and by object. A good intro to classic and not-so-classic poetry, this volume is beautifully and simply illustrated by the watercolor art of Chris Raschka.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elle Buffenbarger

    The illustrations were amazing and the poems were well written as well but I would not want to read to my class in one sitting. I would recommend breaking this book down into sections or to read it over a period of time when working with children.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Leitschuh

    The Death of the Hat takes you on a poetic journey from the Early Middle Ages until Contemporary times. I loved Chris Raschka's illustrations that accompanied the poems. A really cool book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This "children's book" is for children who are enrolled in an MFA program at college. Sheesh. Lovely pictures, though.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

    A little unusual, and some of the poems were familiar and some not so familiar, but nothing to get excited about.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I am teetering back and forth between 3 and 4 stars. 4 for my personal enjoyment but 3 if I am considering it for children. I liked the premise...to use 50 poems about 50 objects to give a history of poetry, of different periods. I liked the inclusion of a variety of poets, many famous but some lesser known poets. I liked the illustrations. And I liked many of the poems. Some I really liked. I, personally, enjoyed that while I was familiar with a number of the poets, almost all of the poems were I am teetering back and forth between 3 and 4 stars. 4 for my personal enjoyment but 3 if I am considering it for children. I liked the premise...to use 50 poems about 50 objects to give a history of poetry, of different periods. I liked the inclusion of a variety of poets, many famous but some lesser known poets. I liked the illustrations. And I liked many of the poems. Some I really liked. I, personally, enjoyed that while I was familiar with a number of the poets, almost all of the poems were unfamiliar to me. However, I agree with many other reviewers that most of these poems will not appeal to children. Teens will enjoy some. So it is an unusual anthology because it is set up as a picture book but the poems are geared more toward much older readers. That isn't inherently bad...teens and adults do read picture books. A few of the poems I really liked include: The Eagle by Alfred Lord Tennyson I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth A Riddle, On the Letter E. by George Gordon An Hymn to the Evening by Phyllis Wheatley My very favorite poem was "Famous" by Naomi Shihab Nye. The river is famous to the fish. The loud voice is famous to the silence, which knew it would inherit the earth before anybody said so. The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds watching him from the birdhouse. The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek. The idea you carry close to your bosom is famous to your bosom. The boot is famous to the earth, more famous than the dress shoe, which is famous only to floors. The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it and not at all famous to the one who is pictured. I want to be famous to shuffling men who smile while crossing streets, sticky children in grocery lines, famous as the one who smiled back. I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous, or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka reunite for this anthology. I will begin by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poetry. I loved the organization of the poems throughout time, beginning in the Early Middle Ages through today. Each of the 50 poems is written about an object, further uniting the poems in the collection. The poetry caused me to reflect on life and the human experience. Because the poems spanned so many centuries, it was also interesting to read about how someone on Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka reunite for this anthology. I will begin by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poetry. I loved the organization of the poems throughout time, beginning in the Early Middle Ages through today. Each of the 50 poems is written about an object, further uniting the poems in the collection. The poetry caused me to reflect on life and the human experience. Because the poems spanned so many centuries, it was also interesting to read about how someone once felt about certain objects in time gone by. Poetry is often written about nature and nature is certainly a theme here. Raschka’s watercolor illustrations are breezy and light – but also sometimes require further consideration to catch his true meaning. Astute readers will notice that the solitary wildgoose from Cui Tu’s poem in the beginning flies through many of the pages, finally reconnecting with other geese in the end papers. As with any collection, some of the poems and the illustrations struck a chord in me. Some did not. Most of my favorites were from the more recent years. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth, Manhole Covers by Karl Shapiro, and both of the cat poems by William Butler Yeats and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It must be a difficult task to decide on the poems to include in an anthology, and the introduction is well worth the time to read. For me, as a lover of the written word and admirer of poetry, this collection is a treasure. As an elementary school librarian, I am a bit more torn. The intended audience for this book is children, and here I’m afraid it may have missed its mark. I’m just not sure how much kid-appeal these poems hold. This review was first posted on my blog, Get Your Book On.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    It was hard to read this without comparing it to BEASTLY VERSE, which I just read, since I really don't read a lot of poetry (basically, I read no poetry and just the occasional novel in verse). I loved the concept of a history of poetry geared toward children and told through fifty poems all about objects. The reality was good, but not quite what I was hoping for. I had a difficult time following the poetry's historical progression (despite reading Janeczko's introduction), so I'm not sure how It was hard to read this without comparing it to BEASTLY VERSE, which I just read, since I really don't read a lot of poetry (basically, I read no poetry and just the occasional novel in verse). I loved the concept of a history of poetry geared toward children and told through fifty poems all about objects. The reality was good, but not quite what I was hoping for. I had a difficult time following the poetry's historical progression (despite reading Janeczko's introduction), so I'm not sure how meaningful this will be to children. And though I certainly enjoyed this collection of poems much better than I did BEASTLY VERSE'S, I guess I just have to admit that I'm not the poetry aficionado I wish I could be. There were still plenty of poems in THE DEATH OF THE HAT that I found, if not challenging, then hazy, and I wondered how the average child would have experienced this anthology. Partly I know that the problem is that I insist on reading poem after poem after poem, which I know is not the point of poetry. I was also thrown off by the fact that Janeczko apparently categorizes animals as objects, since he included a number of poems about animals. Although I enjoyed reading those poems, I think they were misplaced in this anthology, and I preferred the poems that stuck to purely mundane objects as their subjects, like Pablo Neruda's "Ode to a Stamp Album." Finally, the area in which this book shone in comparison to BEASTLY VERSE, and the main reason that it ended up with four stars, is Chris Raschka's lovely watercolor illustrations. The color palette and dreamy lines of these illustrations were perfect for the book, and really complemented instead of detracting from the poetry.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Hartman

    Copyright: 2015 Number of pages: 77 Book format: print Reading level: 3-7; GR level N/A Genre: poetry Lit requirement: anthology The Death of a Hat is a book of collected poems collected by Paul B. Janeczko which cover a brief history of poetry in fifty objects. Each poem is completely different from the rest; the types and forms differ. There are haikus, poems that rhyme, free verse, etc. The illustrations are colorful and spread out around the pages. Most of them cover double-spreads. I, however, rat Copyright: 2015 Number of pages: 77 Book format: print Reading level: 3-7; GR level N/A Genre: poetry Lit requirement: anthology The Death of a Hat is a book of collected poems collected by Paul B. Janeczko which cover a brief history of poetry in fifty objects. Each poem is completely different from the rest; the types and forms differ. There are haikus, poems that rhyme, free verse, etc. The illustrations are colorful and spread out around the pages. Most of them cover double-spreads. I, however, rated this book two stars because the poems were not very interesting. It may be because they are based on objects, but the illustrations do not make up for it either. They are not very intricate so there is not much to look at. This book would probably not interest the younger readers in the reading level, so the older children might understand these poems a little better.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I read this book as part of the Chapter and Verse Book Club's discussion of possible Sibert Award-Winning books for 2015. You have been forewarned... This review is going to be harsh. I will openly admit that poetry is not my thing, however, I can read and enjoy a good poem from time to time. But seriously, bleh! I thought this book was horrible and what I can't figure out is why an anthology of poetry would be a contender for a nonfiction award. I appreciate the difficulty that must lie in crea I read this book as part of the Chapter and Verse Book Club's discussion of possible Sibert Award-Winning books for 2015. You have been forewarned... This review is going to be harsh. I will openly admit that poetry is not my thing, however, I can read and enjoy a good poem from time to time. But seriously, bleh! I thought this book was horrible and what I can't figure out is why an anthology of poetry would be a contender for a nonfiction award. I appreciate the difficulty that must lie in creating an anthology, especially in this case, when including poems from as far back as the Middle Ages. But the collecting of poems does not equal the writing of poems, in my opinion, and I don't understand how they can be compared. I also have issue with the illustrations. They are very kid-like and I know that my own children who are 4 and 6 would eagerly grab this book and think that because of the drawings, it would be for them, when in reality it isn't. I don't think the illustrations support the more mature nature of this book. It certainly wasn't intended for the pre-school or elementary aged student set.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed the previous poetry collaborations of Janeczko and Raschka. This one is an ambitious addition. As many have noted, this collection is probably for older kids than A Kick in the Head et al.- more middle school than elementary, and probably for those who are already interested in poetry (and not just Silverstein and Prelutsky). I enjoyed the poems, although I'm not enough of a poetry reader to comment on the selection. I love the illustrations; Raschka's impressionistic and abstra I really enjoyed the previous poetry collaborations of Janeczko and Raschka. This one is an ambitious addition. As many have noted, this collection is probably for older kids than A Kick in the Head et al.- more middle school than elementary, and probably for those who are already interested in poetry (and not just Silverstein and Prelutsky). I enjoyed the poems, although I'm not enough of a poetry reader to comment on the selection. I love the illustrations; Raschka's impressionistic and abstract watercolors are just made for poetry. I really wish that the introductory information had been incorporated into the body of the book, linking each poem together. I think many readers will skip over the four pages of small type and skip to the poems, thereby missing the point of the collection. Poetry for children tends to be either A Child's Garden of Verses or funny rhymes. There's nothing wrong with either, but young readers who are interested in poetry often have no choice but to dive into adult collections. I think this book might provide a helpful bridge.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stanislav242

    While the book is rather tad challenging and has many “difficult” subjects like death, chivalry, despair, romance, things young children wont understand, is hard to connect and enjoy I think it is rewarding to young readers exploring difficult subjects in life. It is broken into time periods, e.g early-late middle ages, Enlightenment, Gothic, Romantic, Victorian, Modern…so there is a nice history lesson, one sees how poetry progressed, from Medieval ages up to even Women poets/suffrage impacted While the book is rather tad challenging and has many “difficult” subjects like death, chivalry, despair, romance, things young children wont understand, is hard to connect and enjoy I think it is rewarding to young readers exploring difficult subjects in life. It is broken into time periods, e.g early-late middle ages, Enlightenment, Gothic, Romantic, Victorian, Modern…so there is a nice history lesson, one sees how poetry progressed, from Medieval ages up to even Women poets/suffrage impacted them etc. One part I don’t like is that it did not list the best poems of that era but rather just random ones. Best suited for late elementary and children who are interested in poetry. Some are so difficult to understand even I had to jump pages, another mistake. Many children and early teens really wont “get” any but a few of these poems. But the illustrations are superb , done with watercolors and reflect on the era.( I think they are Impressionist/Modern style art which has a “childish” feel to it)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This poetry anthology gives examples of how poetry has changes over time. Paul Janezcko chose to use Western literary eras to divide the book, but he included poets from the Eastern hemisphere as well as the Western hemisphere. Readers will see some poems from famous poets (Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Robert Burns) and poems from diverse cultures (by Cui Tu, Langston Hughes, Pablo Neruda). The introduction at the start of the book is worth a read as it explains the process of trying to sel This poetry anthology gives examples of how poetry has changes over time. Paul Janezcko chose to use Western literary eras to divide the book, but he included poets from the Eastern hemisphere as well as the Western hemisphere. Readers will see some poems from famous poets (Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Robert Burns) and poems from diverse cultures (by Cui Tu, Langston Hughes, Pablo Neruda). The introduction at the start of the book is worth a read as it explains the process of trying to select poems from each era while giving equal representation of male and female poets. It is said that this anthology is geared towards younger students, but I would use it with middle and high school students. Given that these poems are from many historical periods, it is not likely that younger students would either be able to understand the poems or connect with them. Rather I would select poems to read aloud to a class at the start of a unit in history to give the flavor of the era, or use in an upper level ELA class when exploring poetry and how it has changed over time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    When we need it the most, winter sheds sleep yielding to spring. The cold slowly gives way to warmth. Snowfall is replaced with welcome rain showers. Spots of green appear in brown, leaf-coated gardens. Silence is filled with song. So it is with National Poetry Month in April. We need this timely tribute to a body of literary verse regardless of the selected style. Having already committed to reading more poetry for several weeks, I find myself forming fresh descriptions of my daily sensory expe When we need it the most, winter sheds sleep yielding to spring. The cold slowly gives way to warmth. Snowfall is replaced with welcome rain showers. Spots of green appear in brown, leaf-coated gardens. Silence is filled with song. So it is with National Poetry Month in April. We need this timely tribute to a body of literary verse regardless of the selected style. Having already committed to reading more poetry for several weeks, I find myself forming fresh descriptions of my daily sensory experiences. The beauty is rising to the top as perceptions are verbally altered. With several memorable poetry collections to their credit author Paul B. Janeczko and illustrator Chris Raschka bring us another treasure in The Death Of The Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects (Candlewick Press, March 10, 2015). My full recommendation: http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This is not your typical anthology of poems for children. Janeczko chose poems based on two things - their place in the history of literature and the fact that they were about an object. This has lead to a group of 50 poems that don't seem to meld together and are not very child friendly. I don't think that kids always need to read "funny kid poetry" - in fact I try to help my students learn that there are many poets, not just Shel Silverstein - but I do think that poems need to be presented in This is not your typical anthology of poems for children. Janeczko chose poems based on two things - their place in the history of literature and the fact that they were about an object. This has lead to a group of 50 poems that don't seem to meld together and are not very child friendly. I don't think that kids always need to read "funny kid poetry" - in fact I try to help my students learn that there are many poets, not just Shel Silverstein - but I do think that poems need to be presented in a way that kids can understand them. Although the wonderful illustrations help, most kids would need significant adult help to make it through this book. Use this book with older kids (middle school/high school) and/or with kids who already love poetry other than the "funny kid poetry" type.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    First let me say that reading through this book was a pleasure. It's a fun concept that is an interesting and structured way to introduce younger readers to poetry. Lots of interesting new language, lots to talk about. The book starts with the early middle ages and works all the way up to contemporary poets. Chris Raschka's illustrations add a really lively element to these poems and are always so beautiful. Second I should say that the lack of diversity in the poems is really stark. There are 8 First let me say that reading through this book was a pleasure. It's a fun concept that is an interesting and structured way to introduce younger readers to poetry. Lots of interesting new language, lots to talk about. The book starts with the early middle ages and works all the way up to contemporary poets. Chris Raschka's illustrations add a really lively element to these poems and are always so beautiful. Second I should say that the lack of diversity in the poems is really stark. There are 8 poems by non-western poets, all of which are pre-1600s. There is one single modern poem that wasn't originally written in English. There are 11 female poets included and 13 poets of color. I really like all of the poems featured, but the book is a (brief) history of poetry. I don't think it has to be so very, very narrow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Donna Nix

    Make that 2 1/2 stars if I'm feeling generous. I was more confused by this book than anything else. On the surface it says "picture book", but that is lost after page 1 of the introduction. I don't think children or early teens would "get" any but a handful of these poems. As another reviewer said, this is a good argument for the "poetry is boring" belief. The illustrations are good, the match of text to artwork is fair to ok, the text is for older teens and adults (if they can wade through it, Make that 2 1/2 stars if I'm feeling generous. I was more confused by this book than anything else. On the surface it says "picture book", but that is lost after page 1 of the introduction. I don't think children or early teens would "get" any but a handful of these poems. As another reviewer said, this is a good argument for the "poetry is boring" belief. The illustrations are good, the match of text to artwork is fair to ok, the text is for older teens and adults (if they can wade through it, I got sleepy halfway through, am I a typical reader?) I still don't understand why objects had to be the theme. Why couldn't we have a historical anthology of poetry from different periods that WOULD appeal to young readers, this isn't it! I like several of Janeczko's anthologies, but this one is mostly a dud.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Audrey's Picture Books

    Putting a poem in a short book with large pages and colorful pictures does not make it a children's poem. The poems in this book are good poems and judiciously chosen--for adults. Most of them have no kid appeal at all, and the choice of some of them is downright baffling. The clearest example of this is a poem in which the poet uses the latest birthday card from a dying aunt as a springboard to a meditation on mortality and its physical manifestation in the card in question. I'm not one of thos Putting a poem in a short book with large pages and colorful pictures does not make it a children's poem. The poems in this book are good poems and judiciously chosen--for adults. Most of them have no kid appeal at all, and the choice of some of them is downright baffling. The clearest example of this is a poem in which the poet uses the latest birthday card from a dying aunt as a springboard to a meditation on mortality and its physical manifestation in the card in question. I'm not one of those people who thinks kids can't handle difficult subjects like death, but I do question whether the poem would have much resonance with children. As far as I can tell, only a few of these poems are likely to interest children, and putting colorful pictures next to them won't change that. It's much more likely to convince them that poetry is boring.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    It was an interesting idea to compile 50 poems about 50 objects that would tell the history of poetry. As an anthology, many of the poems included would be unfamiliar to the average child at whom this book is aimed so it would certainly expose them to new ideas, forms and poets. As a picture book, the illustrations are acceptable but not overwhelmingly engaging. Some of the poems included would be difficult for adults to enjoy, let alone kids at whom this book is presumably aimed. I love poetry. It was an interesting idea to compile 50 poems about 50 objects that would tell the history of poetry. As an anthology, many of the poems included would be unfamiliar to the average child at whom this book is aimed so it would certainly expose them to new ideas, forms and poets. As a picture book, the illustrations are acceptable but not overwhelmingly engaging. Some of the poems included would be difficult for adults to enjoy, let alone kids at whom this book is presumably aimed. I love poetry. I thought this book was okay. There were a few poems I really liked. I think one could pick and choose what to use with kids, but as a sit-down-and-read-it-from-cover-to-cover book it would fall flat.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    In the words of Jess Mariano from the CW Tv Show, Gilmore Girls "I can’t get into poetry. It’s kind of like, geez, just say it already, we’re dying here." Yep! I liked "The Death of a Hat poem" and the Cocoa one and the rest... well.. "Just say it already" Just not my cup o tea. Would be a good resource if you had to pick one poem to memorize to study. Reading the whole thing...was grueling!! I like the some poetry and imaginary and good writing but I can just sit in a Jane Austen book, in a corner In the words of Jess Mariano from the CW Tv Show, Gilmore Girls "I can’t get into poetry. It’s kind of like, geez, just say it already, we’re dying here." Yep! I liked "The Death of a Hat poem" and the Cocoa one and the rest... well.. "Just say it already" Just not my cup o tea. Would be a good resource if you had to pick one poem to memorize to study. Reading the whole thing...was grueling!! I like the some poetry and imaginary and good writing but I can just sit in a Jane Austen book, in a corner, reading poetry with my tea as part of my cultural experience...I am a narrow minded, song lyric, like things to rhyme poetry! To each his own. THe pictures are alright but not in love!

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