Cheerio my dears, it’s Mad Martha with you today for a brand new poetical review…and a reminder from Bruce about the Fiction in 50 challenge for this month. April’s Fi50 challenge will open on Monday for your links and entries and the prompt for this month is:
All you have to do is create a piece of fiction in any form in 50 words or less! For more information on how to participate, click on the button at the top of the post. New players are always warmly welcomed.
Today I am reviewing a poetry tome for the mini-fleshlings and to add to the excitement I have no doubt just generated with those tantalising words, the book focuses on my favourite type of poetry – Haiku! It also has a second type of Japanese poetry that I will be trying out later in this post – the Lantern, or lanturne. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The book is authored by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated in alluring fashion by Andy Rowland, and bears the wishful title If It Rains Pancakes. I was very pleased to receive a digital copy for review from the publisher via Netgalley – thanks!
The book is split into two parts, each dealing with one style of poem. The poem type is briefly explained and then a good number of examples is presented, each with it’s own quirky illustration. The haiku form gets first billing in the book, and my favourite example from this section is the beautifully descriptive:
My pet pig, Betty
in her full karate stance
performs the “pork chop”
The poem is illustrated with Betty in full karate gi, energetically pork chopping the air. Perfect.
The second half of the book focuses on Lantern (sometimes called lanturne) poems, which are also based on syllables and follow the form of 5 lines with one, two, three, four and one syllables respectively. I had not heard of this form of poetry before and couldn’t wait to give it a bash. So without further ado, here is my review of If It Rains Pancakes…
(I hope you appreciate my little attempt to be down with da hip crew of mini-fleshlings with my blatant display of their colloquial use of the word “word”. Subtle, wasn’t it?)
This would be a fantastic addition to the shelf of any teacher who either (a) loves poetry of all kinds and can’t wait to engage students in the joy of creating Japanese poetry or (b) is terrified of teaching poetry and can’t wait to find a book that will make the job easy for them. The funny examples and the quirky illustrations make this a very user-friendly tome and one that will also appeal greatly to kids who may be labouring under the misconception that poetry is boring, tricky, too hard or just not for them. As I can personally attest, there is nothing funner…er, sorry, more fun…than attempting to squeeze syllables into a particular pattern for the glory of having produced a witty little haiku. They can become quite addictive, and this book will help give a whole new generation a poetry habit. That can only be a good thing, in my opinion.
If It Rains Pancakes will be released on May the 1st.
Adieu until we meet again,