- Grade Level: 2 - 3
- Series: Poetry Adventures
- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Millbrook Pr (May 1, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781467744126
- ISBN-13: 978-1467744126
- ASIN: 1467744123
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,010,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems (Poetry Adventures) Paperback – May 1, 2014
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Cleary introduces readers to haiku and lantern poems, defining each, providing background, explaining syllabic line requirements, and offering examples. Admitting that he takes a broad approach to haiku (traditionally they are nature poems), Cleary offers many humorous verses, including: “My pet pig, Betty, / in her full karate stance, / performs the ‘pork chop.’” The lantern poems range from pastoral (“Spring. / Yellows, / Blues, and greens. / Chirp, peck, peep, pop, / bloom”) to more contemporary themes (“Slush— / gulping / icy treat. / Getting brain freeze. / Whoa”). Rowland’s colorful cartoon illustrations capture the varying moods and often extend the text. For example, he depicts one lantern poem (“Eight: / circles / up and down. / Each must be worth / four”) as a figure eight–shaped race track with four cars driving on each circle. Appended with suggested websites and books for further reading, this will be welcomed by classrooms studying poetry. Pair with Bob Raczka’s Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys (2010). Grades 2-4. --Kay Weisman
"This slim volume introduces two forms of Japanese poetry. The first and larger section focuses on the more familiar haiku. A simple introduction defines the form but explains that while haiku subjects traditionally focus on nature, these selections cover a broader range of topics, including school and food. Twenty original haiku follow, illustrated with spot cartoon illustrations. The second part is dedicated to lantern poems (or a poem whose visual shape resembles a lantern), opening with an even briefer introduction and 15 illustrated examples. The poetry in both sections varies from thoughtful to silly. While this is an interesting look at the two different poetic forms, format is all that ties the wide assortment of selections together, and even the transition between the two sections feels abrupt. Still, the explanatory texts provide clear instructions and encouragement for readers creating their own poems." ―School Library Journal(Journal)
"An engaging lantern poem and haiku how-to for young readers.
Veteran children's series author Cleary (Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies: What Are Irregular Plurals? with Brian Gable, 2014, etc.) and British illustrator Rowland team up to launch the new Poetry Adventures series with a picture book demonstrating the great fun to be had with wee poems. While poets typically choose the spare haiku or concrete lantern form to communicate profound reflections on nature, here Cleary turns poetic convention on its ear by conjuring silly, sometimes-hilarious situations. Whether describing a bodily function, as in 'Yummy'―'When something's so good / you want to taste it again, / that's what burps are for'―or poking fun at the haiku form itself―'When you've written one / without enough syllables, / you add words. Football'―Cleary's light touch immediately grabs attention. Even the more contemplative lantern poems, so called because the five-line syllabic form's outline slightly resembles that of a Japanese lantern, are perfectly geared for the young: 'Hug: / a gift / that is best / when you return / it.' To further entice readers to write, Cleary provides clear descriptions of the poetics of each form alongside Rowland's vibrant, brightly hued illustrations that include a nicely ethnically diverse cast of human characters as well as zany aliens and plenty of visual wit.
Wonderfully crafted and illustrated: a delightful, effective primer for budding poets." ―starred, Kirkus Reviews(Journal)
"Brian Cleary, author of several word and poetry books for children, introduces two forms of ancient Japanese poetry―the popular haiku and the lesser-known lantern poem―in this title from the Poetry Adventures series. Cleary clearly explains each type of poetry; haiku captures a specific moment while lantern poems employ a noun as the first line and the other lines shed light on the subject. All of the poems included are clever, many are humorous. The poems represent a variety of topics including months, seasons, nature, everyday experiences, etc. Lower grade teachers can use this title as a fun read-aloud, while middle and upper grade teachers can employ the book to instruct students on the two poetry forms and to assign their students assignments to create poems themselves. Andy Rowland has provided colorful illustrations that enhance the enjoyment of the book." ―Library Media Connection(Journal)
"Cleary introduces readers to haiku and lantern poems, defining each, providing background, explaining syllabic line requirements, and offering examples. Admitting that he takes a broad approach to haiku (traditionally they are nature poems), Cleary offers many humorous verses, including: 'My pet pig, Betty, / in her full karate stance, / performs the "pork chop."' The lantern poems range from pastoral ('Spring. / Yellows, / Blues, and greens. / Chirp, peck, peep, pop, / bloom') to more contemporary themes ('Slush― / gulping / icy treat. / Getting brain freeze. / Whoa'). Rowland's colorful cartoon illustrations capture the varying moods and often extend the text. For example, he depicts one lantern poem ('Eight: / circles / up and down. / Each must be worth / four') as a figure eight–shaped race track with four cars driving on each circle. Appended with suggested websites and books for further reading, this will be welcomed by classrooms studying poetry. Pair with Bob Raczka's Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys (2010)."―Booklist(Journal)
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Anyway, it's one thing to explain what Haiku is and to give examples. It's another thing to get a kid interested in Haiku and jazzed to try it. That's where this book shines. Apart from the best brief description I've seen, (of a "syllable sandwich"), the poems and illustrations in this book seem likely to catch a kid's interest and fire the imagination. Instead of cherry blossoms, water and death, (probably not big items in second grade), we get burps, football, pizza, pancakes and hugs. That strikes me as talking to the budding poets in a language that they'll get.
The second section of the book, Lanterns, is a nice touch because it offers a similarly manageable alternative to Haiku, and opens up the possibility that there are even more poem forms out there, which is a solid and painless bonus.
So, a fun book to read and a good book to use to start an activity - what a nice find and appealing addition to the family library.
Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
Rowland's kid-friendly illustrations with their bright colours, expressive emotions and entertaining action just draw kids into the poetry. The author adds websites to visit and a book list that gives a more in-depth experience regarding this form of poetry at the end of the book.
I loved the book. It was fun and quirky and made me laugh. I had no idea about the Japanese lantern form of poetry and now I do. You are never too old to learn something new. Thank you Brain P. Cleary for enlightening me. I am off now to create a Lantern poem because I have been inspired, and I know I too can write one if I put my mind to it.
As a poet and a teacher, I naturally love books that help kids develop a love of poetry. Having said that, I'll be the first to admit that it's not always easy to find poetry books for very young children. Sure, many children's books are written in verse, but most of them don't draw attention to that fact, so it's not always easy to introduce poetry as a concept to young kids.
If It Rains Pancakes introduces haiku and lantern poems by giving examples with themes that children would like (like pancakes!). It may not be the most sophisticated introduction to the poetic forms, but that's kind of the point. Plus, I'll admit I wasn't familiar with lantern poems so it was a nice introduction for me as well!
I liked the little poem stories. My favourite was "If It Rains Pancakes." When I saw the book, I hoped there would be one about pancakes and there was! I really like pancakes.
Illustrated throughout with fun pictures by Andy Rowland, the images help bring the poems to life for children and grab their attention.
The simple and relevant poems will be fun and interesting to children and adults alike. Children will be able to relate easily with the content and topic of the poems. The book is reasonably short and so can be read with them in one sitting, or maybe two, splitting the sessions between the two poetic forms.
I would recommend this book as an enjoyable and informative read to share with your children. Learning whilst having fun is always the best way.
This review is based on a complimentary copy of the book.