Smile Out Loud: 25 Happy Poems

Wide Eyed Editions. May 2022. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780711271814.
K-Gr 2–Using the techniques of physical humor as well as wordplay, young readers can experience these poems as they were meant to be shared—out loud. Focusing on the playful aspects of language allows this collection to ramble thematically and introduce different kinds of poems from villanelles to simple ending rhymes. There is an irreverence and freedom present in the lyrical stylings of these poems that fans of Silverstein will recognize. Brief explanations for each poem, from its structure and jokes to the interactive parts, help readers connect to and understand the text before they read it. The book goes beyond using brightly colored illustrations, which it also does to amusing effect, to show and tell novices how poem formats work and why they might be funny. Double entendres, puns, and clever wordplay are the meat of poetry, but they are precisely what can trip up young readers. This collection has cleverly worked to include readers in on the jokes, so they can fully appreciate them and build their reading confidence around poetry.
VERDICT A great introduction for reluctant readers who want to learn more about poetry. The interactive elements will work in classrooms and bring an amusing spice to story times.

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