Razzmatazz!: The Poetry World of Roger Stevens

Otter-Barry. Jul. 2022. 112p. pap. $13.99. ISBN 9781913074418.
Gr 5 Up–Rhythm and rhyme, assorted poetic forms and subjects, and frequent personal comments (along with comic views) by the poet make up this handy compendium that encourages the reading, writing, and reciting of poetry. This volume includes couplets, quatrains, ballads, haiku, blank verse, and a bit of rap. Nine sections feature a range of topics, including family, school, pets, re-worked nursery rhymes, philosophical reflections, and more. Some Briticisms will be unfamiliar to young readers. For instance, “Get Your Poems Here” offers sales for 17 pence, a fiver, a pound, and three quid. Smith’s pencil drawings add fun to many pages: though often just small snips, these are sometimes full-page views facing a poem, with a few offering a wordless rendering of the poem in comic strip scenes. Stevens’s comments accompanying many of the poems convey his love of poetry and teaching, and invite readers to some lively interactions. In “A Poem’s Plea,” he writes: “I’m a lonely little poem/ I want to be read out/ Not just sit in a book/ In the dark, all filled with doubt.”
VERDICT With humor, sadness, and a bit of irony, this book invites fun and thoughtful uses for readers, classes, and library programs.

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