Stanza

Overview

There's a slobbery thug in town, and his name is Stanza. He bullies everybody. He eats chicken pot pie. And . . . he writes poetry. On the sly. At night. Because he’s extremely afraid his bully brothers will find out. But Stanza doesn't let that stop him from entering one of his poems into a jingle contest. Does he win? Well, what if he did . . . not?

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Overview

There's a slobbery thug in town, and his name is Stanza. He bullies everybody. He eats chicken pot pie. And . . . he writes poetry. On the sly. At night. Because he’s extremely afraid his bully brothers will find out. But Stanza doesn't let that stop him from entering one of his poems into a jingle contest. Does he win? Well, what if he did . . . not?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Davis’s hilariously busy watercolor illustrations, complete with graphic elements like speech bubbles and dream sequences, are a neat match for Esbaum’s rhythm and rhyme, though it’s distinctly odd to see the clothed, anthropomorphized pups “nipping bottoms.” Young writers and poets may well enjoy watching Stanza’s creative process, however, and might even be inspired to write poems of their own."—Kirkus Reviews
 

"In an ending worthy of Hollywood, Stanza helps his brothers Fresco and Dirge “unleash” their own creative talents—painting and music—and the whole neighborhood becomes a happier place. The jaunty rhyming text and the buoyant illustrations fit the story perfectly. Even when the dogs are at their most menacing, there is an inherent cheerfulness. Muted watercolor, acrylic, and ink cartoon-style figures surrounded by all manner of objects pleasantly fill the street scenes."—Booklist
 

"Clever, pleasing illustrations augment this oft-told tale of staying true to one’s self without fear of recrimination. The message, though well seasoned, is refreshed by lively characterizations of Stanza, his brothers, and the people around them. Children will delight in the details that are often hidden on the page. Rhyming verse makes this an especially fine read-aloud, but the real fun is in up-close scrutiny of the illustrations. A welcome addition to a collection or unit about self-esteem and self-realization."—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
Stanza, a scowling beagle-mix, and his two brothers, Dirge and Fresco, terrorize their town, "nipping bottoms and knocking pedestrians down!" Children flee the delinquent trio; grown-ups call them "Flea-bitten thug" and "Slobbery lug." But underneath Stanza's appalling behavior, his true self is "a sensitive hound," one with a secret talent. He writes poems, haiku, and sonnets, all of which he hides from his brothers out of fear that, if they find his rhymes, they will make him eat canned turnips. Hoping to win "lotsa cash," Stanza enters a contest to write a new jingle for "Snappers." Sadly, not only does he not win first prize, but his poetic side is revealed when his second-prize-winning entry is posted in public. Dirge and Fresco tease him ("What are you, a cat?") and wreck his poetry corner. Public accolades for his jingle lift his mood though. And the delivery of his prize—a year's supply of chicken-potpie-flavored Snappers—causes his brothers to apologize and beg him to share. Stanza agrees on one condition—that they also display their talents: piano-playing and painting. This jingly, upbeat story conveys its messages about the value of poetry, letting one's true self shine, and even re-writing with humor, a tad of suspense, and endearing, reformed characters. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

By day, Stanza is a bullying, ill-mannered scoundrel of a dog, terrorizing the city with his two brothers. But at night, his sensitive side emerges-the tender, poetry-writing side. His fear of Fresco and Dirge finding out about his expressions in verse keeps him writing his poetry in a "shadowy space" of his home. But when his favorite dog-food company announces a jingle-writing contest with a big cash prize, Stanza secretly enters a rhyming masterpiece. Does he win? Will his secret be exposed? What will his brothers think of him now? Clever, pleasing illustrations augment this oft-told tale of staying true to one's self without fear of recrimination. The message, though well seasoned, is refreshed by lively characterizations of Stanza, his brothers, and the people around them. Children will delight in the details that are often hidden on the page. Rhyming verse makes this an especially fine read-aloud, but the real fun is in up-close scrutiny of the illustrations. A welcome addition to a collection or unit about self-esteem and self-realization.-C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY

Kirkus Reviews
What's a dog to do when his talent is decidedly un-canine, especially when his brothers, Dirge and Fresco, are bullies of the highest degree? Stanza has a problem. He loves to write poetry and he knows if his brothers ever discover his secret writing room or piles of poetry, he'll be in a doggone mess. But when the opportunity to write a four-line poem for a contest grabs his fancy he throws caution to the wind and pens a snappy piece. Of course, he is discovered and things look bad for our hero, but the reward for second place is better than Stanza or his teasing brothers ever expected. Davis's hilariously busy watercolor illustrations, complete with graphic elements like speech bubbles and dream sequences, are a neat match for Esbaum's rhythm and rhyme, though it's distinctly odd to see the clothed, anthropomorphized pups "nipping bottoms." Young writers and poets may well enjoy watching Stanza's creative process, however, and might even be inspired to write poems of their own. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152059989
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/6/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 775,821
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

JILL ESBAUM is the author of several picture books, including Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-Comin'!, illustrated by Adam Rex. She lives on a farm in Dixon, Iowa.

www.jillesbaum.com

JACK E. DAVIS is the award-winning illustrator of many wildly funny picture books, including Yo-yo Man by Daniel Pinkwater, Sweet Tooth by Margie Palatini, and Monster Goose by Judy Sierra. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

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