#184 – A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout by Paul B. Janeczko

5 Stars
A Foot in the Mouth: 
Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout
Paul B. Janeczko
Candlewick Press
No. Pages: 64         Ages: 8 to 12
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From the Introduction: Poetry is sound. Oh, sure, it’s other things too, but sound needs to be near the top of the list. To hear the sound of a poem, really hear it, you need to read it out loud. Or have someone read it to you. All the poems in this book have been chosen because they are terrific candidates for reading aloud. They might be as easy as the six-word “Gigi” by Arnold Spilka, or as “frabjous” and as “brillig” as Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” full of delicious nonsense words to roll across your tongue. Many of the poems have very strong rhyme schemes—the poet is showing you how to read the poem through the use of rhyme.

You don’t need to be an expert, and if you’re not sure how a certain part should sound, ask a parent or teacher. Practice a few times. In no time at all, you’ll be able to share the music of a good poem read aloud. If you’ve never read a poem to somebody, you don’t know what you’re missing. This book will give you a chance to change that. These three dozen poems are especially satisfying spoken, recited—shouted!—out loud, from lively rhymes to tricky tongue twisters. Give it a try – Paul B. Janeczko

A Foot in the Mouth is a wonderful collection of some of the silliest, funniest, sarcastic, and fabulous poems for children I have ever read. Adults who like revisiting their child-self through books will enjoy reading this diverse selection of poetry. There are tongue twisters, limericks, rhymed poems, bilingual poems, and poems for one voice to a group of voices. Poets include A.A. Milne, Walt Whitman, William Shakespeare, and a few who did not want to, like to, or forgot to, take credit for their work.

I really enjoyed reading, and reading again, these poems, which are mostly humorous. I like funny. I also like the occasional quirky, such as Old Hank by an unknown poet, penning under the pseudonym Anonymous. Okay, okay. No one can recall who wrote Old Hank, still I like it for its irony.

..............................For a lark,
..............................For a prank,
..............................Old Hank,
..............................Walked a plank.
..............................These bubbles mark
.....................................O
.....................................O
.....................................O
.....................................O
.....................................O
..............................Where Hank sank.
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Oh, poor Old Hank, walked that plank, trying to prank someone and instead of bobbing back to the surface  and yelling “Gotcha,” he sank and stuck. Old Hank is but one of the shorter poems that try to say much with few words. As a kid, I loved limericks and devoured all the limerick books at the library. I like the identical cadence and the often-unexpected wit about them. There are only three limericks in A Foot in the Mouth, yet kids will get the structure of these poems quickly.

The illustrations cannot be overlooked. They enhance each poem, sometimes help explain the poem, but mostly entertain alongside them. Most of the illustrations look abstract. I am not a graphic artist by any stretch of my imagination, so let me try to explain.

People, animals, and things are comprised of a stroke of paint pulled, blotched, spotted, or sprayed on to make the object. Patterns instead of sketched/painted lines make up these picture.*

I like them, think they are fun and often funny. The illustrations fill up the white space on many of the pages and give the eye a second enjoyable piece of art to consume.

Poetry for children does not show up in my mailbox often, but when it has, the results have been fantastic. This book does not disappoint. The humor and fun in each of these poems, regardless the form, will delight those that read them. When delighted, we want more. That is my wish for A Foot in the Mouth—that kids will be so delighted with these poems they will seek out others.

*If anyone can explain this better, please do so in the comment section. Thank you.

Foot in mouth

Author: Paul B. Janeczko    website  bio
Illustrator: Chris Raschka    bio
Publisher: Candlewick Press   website
Release Date:  March 10, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6083-3
Number of Pages: 64?
Ages: 8 to 12
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10 thoughts on “#184 – A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout by Paul B. Janeczko

  1. I love funny poetry books! I have to get this!
    I think I have an OK explaination for the art – The artist paints the shapes, but then he (or she) goes over it in pen. Is that good?
    Erik
    P.S. I’m back! 🙂

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    • Hi Erik! How was the wild west? If you like funny poems you must get this one. It is terrific and funny runs through every poem. Love to see your review. 🙂

      Your art explanation sounds like you might have had some sisterly help. Smart boy, go to the professional in the family. Yes, that is a pretty good description. Thanks!

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    • Do you like limericks? I bet you do. There are some cute ones in the book. I think funny is best for kids, and some adults. Gets them reading poetry and who knows where that will lead to. Writing poetry?

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  2. Pingback: A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout by Paul B. Janeczko « 4writersandreaders

  3. HaHaHaHa!! This looks like a great book! Especially for a dog named Rhythm! I like funny too. If I can get kids to laugh my day is made. So this looks like a good book to check out. Thanks.

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    • Rhythm! You made it. Last time I think it was your person who was here. (I’d rather see you. shh, don’t tell.)

      Yep, this is a good book for a traveling therapy dog like yourself. One poem a room at the children’s hospital would be good. Anymore and you might bust open a kid’s stitches. If you go to my library, you can check this book out next week. I’ll leave a bookmark bone in it for you.

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      • I don’t know where your library is, but maybe that bone will lead me to it! And I go read with some kindergarteners this week so this book might be a good one to have on hand ( or paw). thanks

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        • Sniff yourself north (unless you are in Michigan or Canada), wait for the scent of walleye, and then whiff you’re way to the library in the southeastern corner of town. If this were walleye season it would be a breeze to get here.
          Since it is not, you could wait for a Saturday when the scent of collegiate football is in the air.

          Again head north (unless . . . ), and when you smell the stench of wolverines, turn back south and go half-way to buckeye country.
          Careful though, being on the boarder between the two schools often mixes the scents causing nose bleeds. Be careful.

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          • sounds like some gooood stinky smells up your way! My Mom Person says it sounds like a purty fur piece and we probably wouldn’t make it back by Tuesday so maybe we aught to just check at our library. I’ll let you know how it goes! Careful where you walk up there!

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