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Children's LiteratureWritten as part of "The Poet's Toolbox" series, this educational and yet fun book provides great insight into the wonderful world of poetry. It serves as a valuable resource for introducing the many types of poems as well as inspiring young readers to try their own hand at writing one. This particular book focuses on animals. All of the poems revolve around this theme, using haikus, free verse, concrete poems, acrostics, poems full of imagery and metaphors, and much more. The fun illustrations that accompany the poems help break up the text and lighten the subject matter. At the bottom of each page, there is a Toolbox Tip that identifies unique characteristics of the poem on the page and challenges the reader to look at these tools and use them in their own writing or at least to appreciate them in other poems the reader may come across. For instance, perhaps the poem uses personification or repetition or a particular rhyme scheme. At the end of the book, there is a "Collect Your Tools" section that encourages readers to write poetry and even provides useful tips and advice on how and where to write their own poems about animals. Overall, this book is definitely a must-have if you are looking to teach poetry to a young person. Better yet, get the whole collection of four books to make your instruction complete. 2004, Compass Point Books, Ages 8 up.
—Sheree Van Vreede