Wednesday, December 23, 2009

African Acrostics

African Acrostics; a Word in Edgeways
Poems by Avis Harley; photographs by Deborah Noyes
Candlewick Press, 2009
I knew the moment I took this book out of its bubble-infused envelope it was going to be amazing and it is.  Just look at that attention-grabbing front cover!  Students will flock to this book whether they are researching animals, poetry or just looking for a great book to enjoy.

The opening poem, in African Acrostics, reminds me of Shel Silverstein's "invitation to young readers":

"Welcome, all poets-both new 
or well versed. Non-rhymers or
Rhymers! Come,
dive in headfirst!"

What follows is a well-written and unique poetry book with very real, close-up animal portraits.  The beginning poem tells the reader just what an acrostic poem is, which is helpful. Many of us regard an acrostic poem as one made up of the letters of a name, but the form is much broader than that.  Harley uses a variety of words to form her poems, which makes the reader work to relate the names to each animal.  It is an inspiring method and serves to bring this form of poetry to life.  For example: the ostrich poem anchor word is "fatherly advice" and the poem relays a father's wisdom to his son.  The father teaches his child to ignore humans (they only want your feathers) and to enjoy life for who he is!  I now want to sit with my family and make acrostic poems on Christmas morning.  Animal, poetry and nature lovers should unite over this beautifully done book.  I can't wait to share it with students and teachers in the new year.
Highly Recommended-elementary 
5/5 peaceful stars
This book was a picnic basket gift.

***This post has been in my brain for several days but much has kept me from my computer.  Then today I had a "crown lengthening" done and oh, my the pain that followed-and I have a fairly high threshold-was astounding!  I had to take a painkiller (half) to get me through the last half of the day.  All I can hope is the pain will diminish so I can enjoy Christmas.

Be Peaceful,